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Land Tax

Editorial: The Labour Party's Liberal Programme

 The Executive of the Labour Party are submitting to the Liverpool Conference of that Party a policy of “National Reconstruction and Reform” which they claim will secure for all workers “the reward and security to which their activities rightly entitle them.”

 This so-called Labour policy declares for closer contact between the Home Government and the Colonial Governments; "a scientific redistribution of land within the British Commonwealth”; special information offices for emigrants and preliminary training before going overseas; Government purchase of Colonial produce; and financial assistance to British farmers.

Cooking the Books: Ground Rents and Coronets

The slump has led to a revival of long-forgotten nostrums. Last year the Times (10 June) carried an article advocating a single tax on land as a way out of the crisis. This proposal normally associated with Henry George (1839-1897), but Philippe Legrain chose to associate it with Winston Churchill. Hence the subtitle of his article: “Adopting Churchill’s plan would benefit wealth creators at the expense of the idle rich”.

It is true that a hundred years ago, when the Liberal government of the day was in a power struggle with the House of Lords over the budget, Churchill who was then a Liberal did support a tax on land as a way of getting at the landed aristocracy.

The Lying Land Campaign: The Socialist View

The Cause of the Shindy
At a time when the toilers are engaged in a bitter struggle with the employers, the Liberals are busy diverting attention to the “wicked landlords” and their “unearned increment”. The dockers being “done down” by a Devonport, are told to tax land values. The miners, vainly seeking 5s. a day, are urged to support the Single Tax idea. The railway men, cursing Conciliation, are advised to levy the ducal landlords.

The Land Tax campaign serves the Liberal manufacturers well. Labour unrest is exploited to turn the minds of the workers away from the real question to the old bogey of taxing land. The policy of smothering men’s bitter feelings against the Devonports, Thomas’s and Hugh Bells, has, however, a more palpable and material driving force behind it. Hence we note from the Liberal Press that a wealthy and influential committee has been formed to boom the Land Tax campaign.

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