CLA statement on the Labour Party’s plans to create a new English Sovereign Land Trust with powers to buy land at agricultural prices for housing

02 February 2018

Responding to the Labour Party proposal, CLA Director of Policy and Advice Christopher Price said: “The best way to tackle the housing crisis is to remove the massive barriers that still stand in the way of private landowners who want to invest in providing, usually small, housing schemes in rural areas. These include uncertainties of navigating the chaotic and under-resourced planning system and a penal tax system that too often disincentives positive investment.

“Compulsory purchase of land should only ever be a last resort and in practice it is far more likely to be small family farms that suffer, not the big players who have far more means to defend themselves.    

“The principle of capturing land value uplifts to fund public benefits from infrastructure investment to environmental benefits or social housing is well understood. The current system has the means to do this in a number of ways, we would not support yet another incremental change that would merely make things even more complex and adversarial.

“We are open to a more fundamental look at these issues, but it must start from the point of view of working with landowners not seeking to forcibly remove their assets at artificial low prices.”