Pressure Mounts for a New Tax on Development – We Need Your Help

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CLA Policy Researcher Katie Ramsey looks at the recent interest in Land Value Capture and why we need your help

Two weeks ago, The Times ran a piece calling for government to introduce new mechanisms to capture the reported ‘£9 billion in unearned increments’ that landowners receive from developments. Similarly, last weekend, The Telegraph wrote that Chancellor Sajid Javid wanted to introduce a ‘morally justifiable’ new tax on landowners to ensure that the uplift in land values was shared 50-50 between the landowners and Local Authorities.

To counter these proposals, the CLA needs more detailed examples across England and Wales. Which is where you come in! Despite the number of members who responded to our September survey, we currently lack enough evidence to make a sufficient case. If we do not receive more data from our members, our current figures can be too easily dismissed by others and the Government.

Having listened to feedback from Branch Committees and CLA council meetings, we have radically simplified our Land Value Capture Survey. The new, faster survey, which asks for less information and has fewer questions, can be accessed here. If you have all the information to hand, we estimate that it will only take you 10 minutes to complete the survey. We hope that this will enable more members to tell us about their development.

We recognise that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for developments, so if you feel that the survey does not suit your development, please get in contact with me directly. My email is katie.ramsey@cla.org.uk and my phone number is 020 7460 7954. I am very happy to talk through your development over the phone, or in-person at Belgrave Square.

The figures that we have collected so far reveal that in most cases, contrary to popular opinion, the state is already capturing more of the uplift as a result of the grant of planning permission than the landowner. These findings will only carry weight with Government, if we have a larger number of responses to our survey.

Many people calling for an increase in Land Value Capture have a desire to provide more affordable houses; we need to show that increasing financial obligations on developments will have the opposite of the desired effect because it will stop landowners bringing land forward for development. An effective way to counter these arguments is to show that even now, some developments are not going ahead because Government taxes and obligations make the venture unprofitable. We especially want to hear from you if you have a development project that you did not go ahead with because Government taxes and obligations were too high.

Please contact us also if you tried and failed to secure planning permission. There is a perception that landowners should not be entitled to a profit from development because they do nothing to earn it. We need to highlight how much work and money is put at risk to secure planning permission, often with no eventual reward.

Land Value Capture looks to many politicians and journalists like an easy win, but their beliefs are based on flawed evidence and misconceptions about the landowner’s role in development. We need your evidence to counter these false perceptions and to provide some clarity on a very complex issue.

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