From the earliest times humans have produced a surplus by working together. All producers of that surplus are entitled to a share.
That surplus ought to be collected in Scotland to properly fund public services.
In Scotland today only site owners get a share. The mechanism that would redistribute the socially produced surplus to address inequality is Adam Smith’s AGR (Annual Ground Rent). Replacing taxes on wages and trade with AGR (AKA Land Value Tax) would not only share that surplus fairly – tackling social dislocation – but also boost prosperity, reversing the age-old flow of people and resources out of our country.
Devolved tax powers allow Holyrood to cancel between £12bn and £24bn of annual Scottish Deadweight Losses immediately. That’s one third of the total avoidable damage automatically inflicted on the Scottish economy each year by Westminster taxes on wages and trade.
Our new report, Scotland’s Path to Prosperity (submitted to the Scottish Land Commission Feb 2018) is a fully costed and highly detailed proposal demonstrating how Holyrood should use devolved powers to replace a proportion of Income Tax with AGR/LVT. Adopting our proposals would boost the Scottish economy by over 9% a year without raising any extra revenue!
Holyrood should undermine the central pillar on which Westminster is built. And confront the reason why the UK Idea, as currently packaged, could never work in Scotland’s interests: the menace of Rent-seeking.
Substantially replacing Income Tax (now devolved) will cause people, resources and enterprises to start flowing back into Scotland for the first time in centuries. The replacement revenue will come from a reformed locally-collected Annual Ground Rent as originally prescribed by Adam Smith. Such a levy would re-connect outcast citizens and revitalize local governance and democracy. AGR would also replace the other devolved taxes (Council Tax, Non-domestic Rates and LBBT).