The Key Ideas

#6 A local Land Value Tax targeting wealth and unproductive use of land

Part of a new approach to local tax should be used to reflect national policy priorities, for example in mitigating the effects of austerity. Both to act as a proxy wealth tax (since Scotland doesn't have the power to introduce one) and to incentivise the market to reprice land more accurately, a land value tax should be introduced as part of the local tax measures. It should have a threshold based on unit value (i.e. only land worth more than a certain value per square metre would be taxed), with a mechanism for taxing very large landholdings of a lower value. This will mean that no residential tenants other than corporate renters will pay this tax as they already pay the property tax, and big commercial landowners (particularly corporations who are 'land banking') will pay more. While regional councils will have complete discretion over other taxes as outlined, there would be a minimum amount of Land Value Tax that each must raise. The aim would be to generate an additional £500 million from this tax in total. This compulsory minimum income would then be subtracted from the block grant, releasing £500 million to be used in national budgets to plug holes caused by austerity cuts. Authorities would be free to raise this tax further above the compulsory rate, giving them the flexibility to raise additional income.