I’m Ian Hopton, the author of the site and a long-time advocate of LVT. The ideas and propositions expressed in the explanations are entirely my own, and may not necessarily be shared by the individuals and organisations referred to through the various links.
I first came across the idea of LVT whilst studying economics in the 1970s, and this led me to read the book, Progress and Poverty, published, in 1879, by the American political philosopher Henry George, and I remember being struck immediately by the logic and moral intelligence of the arguments made. In his book George advocates the land-value tax, and his ideas gave rise to a world-wide movement that reached its height of popularity in the first decade of the 20th century. But after World War 1 the ideas became overshadowed, and finally buried out of sight, so that now very few people remember anything about it. This fact in itself always aroused my curiosity; how could such an excellent system be so readily forgotten, and finally treated, even in many academic circles, as no more than a footnote? After collecting much material from different sources over the years, I decided to marshal my own ideas in the form of this website, in an attempt to answer this question, and to provide some guidance to those who may be curious about a tax based on land values.
In the 1970s I discovered that, amongst the political parties, the Liberals still advocated LVT for local taxation, so I signed up with them in the hope that something would come of it. But at that time the Liberals were struggling to survive, and with the advent of the SDP/Alliance and then the Liberal Democrats, LVT seemed to disappear from the agenda, except amongst the loyal believers who gathered under the banner of the ALTER group. ALTER eventually prevailed upon the Lib-dems to re-consider LVT and it was subsequently included in their 2015 election manifesto. I’m also a supporter of the Labour Land Campaign, who are very active in promoting LVT, and who enjoy widespread support amongst many Labour MPs. It’s heartening to know also that there is considerable co-operation across party lines between individuals who support LVT. There is undoubtedly a revival of interest at the political level: In their manifestos for the election of 2017, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party all had statements of intent to consider the introduction of LVT. Although the Conservatives have always traditionally led the opposition to any notion of a land value tax, there are now several supporters within the Conservative ranks: On page 71 of the 2017 Tory manifesto there was mention of ‘capturing the increase of land value’. And so it is not unreasonable to imagine cross party support for LVT as part of a movement towards basic reform of the tax system. Caroline Lucas, the sole Green MP, made a brave attempt to have LVT debated in Parliament in 2012 but, for ‘administrative reasons’ it ran out of time for a second reading.1 There is also a revival of interest worldwide. In November 2020, the state of Baden-Würtemberg in Germany elected to introduce the system in 2025.2
Over recent decades it has become increasingly apparent that Britain, and in fact the whole western economic capitalist system, is in need of fundamental economic and political reform, not least in the way we impose and collect taxes. Any such reform would require the support of the electorate, and this will only be forthcoming if they know what they are voting for. I hope this site will help some way towards that knowledge. There is a growing public awareness of the gross injustices and inequalities within society which appear to be getting worse rather than better, despite all the good intentions of successive governments. This awareness can lead either to cynicism and despair or to a determination to understand and remedy the causes. I hope that this explanation,will help to fill the gap in this understanding.
It is presented in three parts:
Part 1. A concise explanation of basic principles
Part 2. A more detailed diagrammatic explanation, with notes on application, advantages and history.
Part 3. Further discussion of particular aspects of LVT, including answers to common objections.