The Case for Land Value Taxation

Arthur Henderson

[Excerepts from slected speeched by this U.K. Labour Party leader
during the early decades of the twentieth century]

"The Labour Party holds that it is suicidal for the notion to penalise by increased taxation occupiers of land who effect improvements which add to its value. We propose a drastic revision of the entire system of assessment and rating in order that the taxation of land may be used to unrate the improvements made by the occupier."


"The Labour Party says that if the great landowners at this country desire to put fences round the most productive soil in the world ... they must pay for the pleasure of doing os. Accordingly, it is proposed to have the land valued, and to ask the owner to pay a tax on that valuation. I think that by the pressure of the taxation and rating of land-values the owners would soon find that the land held out of use was not so necessary to their pleasure as they thought."


"I challenge anyone to say that a tax on economic rent is paid by anyone else than the receiver of the rent."


"The taxation of and-values has been a vital need ever since the private ownership of land formed an integral part of the social system, but the aftermat of a great wear has brought us problems which have dragged its urgent necessity more into the light and indicated the essential truths of the doctrine taught by Henry George."


"The taxation of land-values ... seeks to open the way to the natural resources from which all wealth springs. The labour is here, and with it the will to work, but the land still lies locked in the grip of a tenacious and unrelenting monopoly, while unemployment and poverty haunt us with a terrifying persitence."