The alternative fair source of revenue that would share a new and growing prosperity with everyone in every corner of Scotland

ANNUAL GROUND RENT (AGR), also known as Land Value Tax (LVT), is based on the premise that free access of all land and everything in nature, is the birth right of every human being. AGR is a radical change to the unfair economic system that is crippling society and stifling enterprise, creativity and freedom.

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Unlike other ‘taxes’ AGR does not raise money from labour or trade. Instead, Annual Ground Rent is a single payment charged on the ownership of land. Not just large estates and farms, but land beneath privately owned houses and businesses everywhere. More money can be raised for social improvements using ARG than all other taxes put together.

Fred Harrison (Part I) – The Economist who does the Impossible

Fred HarrisonFred Harrison is known as a broadcaster and social campaigner – if he is known at all. And yet, he has predicted the last two major economic crashes (the 1990s and 2008-10) more accurately than anyone in the world. Read more and listen to his podcast here...

The following documents are detailed PDF reports and will open in a new browser tab or window.

In a revenue-neutral tax reform (so government does not cut spending on services), an increase in the tax rate on land, with commensurate decreases in taxes wages and profits, reduces deadweight losses by enormous sums. Four scholars – one an insider at the Bank of England – estimated US gains by asking: what would happen if the tax rate on the value of land was increased tenfold (from 0.55% to 5.55%), with tax on labour and capital reduced to 28% and 10%? Answer: output increases by almost 15%, an addition of $3 trillion to GDP. Since 2016 our central focus at SLRG has been to present this to the Scottish Government. Read more here...

On-Human-Rights-Responsibilities-and-the-Crime-against-Humanity
Our Land - A Vision for land reform in Scotland and how we get there
Collage of struggling couple and individuals

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The Current TAX System

The current system of income and trade taxes (eg, Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, Corporation Tax, Excise Duty etc.) is stifling innovation and crushing society on every level.

Prosperity, production and creativity

AGR Shield

Switching to Annual Ground Rent (AGR)

There will be more money available for public services from AGR than all current taxes put together. With the introduction of Annual Ground Rent all income and trade taxes will cease. Businesses, individuals and families will begin a new era of security and prosperity.

Property improvements

AGR Shield

Resolving the housing crisis. Homes for everybody.

The average value of a UK home is comprised of 40% bricks and mortar plus 60% site value (the ground the house sits on). {source}

For example, the value a £100,000 house is £40,000 for the building and £60,000 for the land with and under it. The £60,000 would be paid to the Community in the form of an Annual Ground Rent of £2,400 (if at 4% pa). In return income and trade taxes would cease.

Property speculation (speculating on the rising value of land) will become a thing of the past. The implications for housing the people of the UK are huge. House prices and rents will drop by at least half.

Public Services

AGR Shield

Immediate Improvements for the NHS, public transport, and education

The new AGR revenue stream will direct money - generated by the collective efforts of society - back into public services. Society will reap the rewards of it’s own labour, innovation and commerce.

The burden of the economic crisis weighs heavily on the shoulders of society

AGR is a vast pool of income. It exceeds all current tax revenues put together, amounting to fully half of the UK gross national income. This resource – the product of society and nature – has been misappropriated for centuries, and, in the light of our failing economy, even prior to the pandemic, the time has come to redirect these 'returns' to the people who generate them. YOU!

For over a year COVID has taken over our lives, obscuring the many problems that existed when things were so-called “normal”. We refer, of course, to rocketing food, fuel and rent costs; growing unemployment; spiralling homelessness and poverty; insufficient benefits for those in dire straits; escating mental health problems and drug deaths; and an alarming increase in reliance on food banks across the country.

For years, all of this has been 'addressed' by politicians of left, right and centre, with palliatives. Hiking up taxes, reducing benefits, restricting public service pay rises and spending, has entrenched inequality under the pretext of solving our problems. Meantime, no-one is doing anything to stop unregulated corporations hiking up prices, compounding the problems of an already struggling nation on the brink of a social and economic crisis.

Institutions that once served us, now rule us

Our existing economic system is unsustainable and divisive.

Powerful and faceless corporations are gaining more and more control through technology and entertainment.

The financial crisis should not become an excuse to raise taxes, which would only undermine the economic growth required to regain our strength. George W. Bush

These corporations make the rules, steer our choices and manipulate us so completely that we’re powerless to rebel.

Following the crash of 2008 society paid the price of reparation. Banks, the very cause of the problem, were bailed out and rewarded by money from the public purse. The country has not yet recovered and, according to our economists, another much worse crash is inevitable without AGR by 2026.

Robbing the poor to feed the rich!

"I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence". Eugene V. Debs

In the past, land was acquired by the nobility and became part of their capital assets, generating profit simply by virtue of ownership. Anyone using it – eg. a tenant - had to pay a premium in the form of "RENT".

This rent was not just for the property the tenant lived in, but also for the land the property stood on - which frequently doubled the cost and generating unearned financial returns (economic rent) for the landowner. This was a misappropriation of capital that was as much owed to the Community whose work and efforts generated the market value of the land.

This explains the success of the so-called "1%" (from owning rent-yielding assets), and the unearned windfalls accruing to UK homeowners today. But that "economic rent" is not just produced by its recipients; it is produced by, and therfore belongs to, EVERYONE!

"...We now condemn feudalism. We condemn not merely the feudal lords but we condemn the whole structure of rules that sustained feudalism. I am asking people to think similarly about the world economy". Thomas Pogge

The value of land then, was determined by society itself, through production and trade, as it still is today.  So when society prospered and demand for amenities on the owners' land increased, the value of the land also increased. A landlord could then raise rents at will, without any improvements, and regardless of whether tenants could afford the increase or not. And since there were no regulations, and no system for people to complain, if tenants fell behind with their rent, they were evicted with no social support creating hunger, starvation, homelessness and poverty leading to the invention of the "workhouse".

Over time, even the common land which had fed and sustained much of the population, was 'enclosed' and removed from the publics’ right to free access. Universal access to land – required in order to survive – was now achieved either by owning it, or paying the owner. Is it any wonder we experience starved public services and a gulf between rich and poor that is at an all-time high?

Such were the tenets of feudalism that are still in practice today.

A future that benefits everyone

The dollar amount of the economic rent (AGR) flowing from natural resources is enormous, more than enough to fully fund the functions of government. The goal is to eliminate taxes on wages and trade in favor of collecting only the economic rent, much of which is currently being diverted to the owners of land and its natural resources). "Economic justice doesn't happen overnight, but by continually holding the vision of a fair system in mind we will eventually achieve our goal." Heather T. Remoff

ANNUAL GROUND RENT (AGR), also referred to as Land Value Tax (LVT), is based on the premise that free access of all land and everything in nature, is the birth right of every human being. AGR is a radical change to the unfair economic system that is crippling society and stifling enterprise, creativity and freedom.

Unlike other ‘taxes’ AGR does not raise money from labour or trade. Instead, Annual Ground Rent is a single payment charged on the ownership of land. Not just large estates and farms, but land beneath privately owned houses and businesses everywhere.

AGR is a vast pool of untapped income, exceeding all other tax revenues put together. In the light of our failing economy, even prior to the pandemic, the time has come to redirect the proceeds to the people who generate it. YOU.

AGR would be paid directly to the Government and distributed back into society via public services, which to date have been systematically eroded by the current economic system. Services such as the NHS, Educational Institutions and social support, public transport etc.

Following the introduction of the new AGR system, within a short period of time, rents would reduce by half or more and would be determined by the market value of bricks and mortar and improvements only.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter... Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” Martin Luther King

Initially, there are likely to be major objections from wealthy land-owners and even freehold property owners.  But a closer look at the big picture of rapid growth, small and large business development, more money in everyone’s pockets, the eradication of homelessness and an end to gratuitous property speculation, would clearly demonstrate the benefits of this innovative system. And remember: everyone ­– including former land speculators – would receive a full fair share of their nation's net income (economic rent/AGR). There is no vengeance in AGR; just a future of growing shared prosperity.

ARG is the ONLY fiscal system that will create a fairer, more equal society. It is the ONLY logical response to society's SOS. The ONLY solution to breaking free from the destructive and corrosive financial claws that are gripping people's lives. The only solution that will restore and sustain personal independence, families, communities and democracy itself.

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News
Taking Back The Land

Taking Back The Land

A small number of wealthy individuals own half of Scotland. Tackling inequalities means redistributing land to bring this feudal-style system to an end.

Dutch rewilding

This was the birthplace of radical thinking about rewilding, which has had a huge influence in the UK (where it was one of the inspirations for the Knepp estate in West Sussex) and elsewhere in Europe

The Guardian View on Taxes

Main stream media opinion on LVT

Rewild or Greenwash

Rewilding, or just a greenwashed land grab?

The Atlantic -

A net-zero land rush is sweeping the country, and both locals and wealthy “green lairds” are trying to buy in.

Baden-Wurttemburg Introduce LVT

LVT will come into effect from 2025.

Absentee landlords buying scottish land in secret

A majority of Highland estates that changed hands last year were sold in secret, and nearly half went to absentee owners rushing to buy rural land for environmental reasons, a report has revealed.

200,000 renter evictions

No-fault evictions: 200,000 renters in England served notices in three years

Shelter says a private tenant is handed notice every seven minutes despite government promise to ban practice in April 2019

200,000 renter evictions

Shelter chief executive says private renters in England are living "at the mercy of a broken and unfair system"

"...The so-called section 21 eviction notices are still in use and ministers are now facing a new push to deliver on their promise from a new coalition for reform of renters’ rights..." This article is a year old.

£200k Beach Hut - Welsh community dies

The Welsh village hollowed out by second homes

“I was brought up here, we’ve got a kid, we can’t live where we want to,” Tom says. “And all the holiday homes, people in them a few weekends of the year and six weeks in summer – the rest of the time they’re empty, and there are people like us struggling in a caravan.”

Tax The Land

Tax The Land

"...In Allentown, Pennsylvania, the system worked! According to a 2019 Strong Towns article, after the city adopted an LVT (through a split-rate system that still kept some property taxes in place) in 1996, “construction returned to the city: the number of taxable building permits surged past neighboring Bethlehem, market investment returned and capital improvement reappeared in city budgets. ... The losers in this trade were absentee owners of vacant lots, who had to shoulder much more of the burden.”

Brewdog

Rich ‘green’ landowners like BrewDog are putting Scottish communities at risk

"The new owners of Kinrara Estate, BrewDog, are planning to plant a “lost forest”, which they say will be capable of sequestering one million tonnes of carbon dioxide. But it was reported that they had also been laying off gamekeepers and selling their homes, their services seemingly no longer required."

Escape to the country

Dreaming of an escape to the country? Be careful what you wish for

"...The Rightmove billboard depicts miles of open country, but as the campaign group Right to Roam points out, the public is excluded from more than 90% of the English countryside and almost 100% of rivers. Meanwhile, English farmland has been turned into a lucrative investment opportunity, particularly since the Tories decided to waive UK inheritance tax on agricultural property in 1984. Much of the English countryside has already been sold off as a result."

Land Markets in Scotland

Scottish Land "up for grabs" by the highest bidder!

Behind the flowery rhetoric about ecology and sustainability propounded by corporate greenwashers, there are growing concerns that the rapid growth in land purchases for carbon offsetting will push up land prices and rents, displacing local communities while exacerbating an already highly financialised land market.

The Trusth about Lobbying

The truth about lobbying: 10 ways big business controls government

From trying to stop plain packaging on cigarettes to pushing through HS2 and opening the countryside to fracking, big business employs lobbying companies to persuade government to meet their interests. But what are the tricks of their trade?

Article from Business From Scotland

AGFRR has the potential to replace all existing UK, Scottish and local taxation, provide a Universal Citizens’ Income of around £200 per week and give all of the people of Scotland a financial stake in our nation...

Land Crisis Letter

"...it is not the cost of bricks and mortar that has sky-rocketed, but the cost of land..."

Tax Us Now!

Taxing the UK’s wealthiest 119,000 people at these rates would raise an estimated £43.7bn, a year.
The signatories said this would be enough to:
Pay for the Health and Social Care Levy twice over every year – eliminating the need to raise national insurance on working people.
Cover the salaries of an additional 50,000 new nurses.
Pay for the permanent increase of universal credit.
Build 35,000 affordable houses and retrofit the UK’s draughtiest homes to reduce the cost of energy bills and help fight the climate crisis.
Gemma McGough, a British entrepreneur and founding member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, said: “At a time when simply living will cost the average household a further £1,200 a year, our government cannot expect to be trusted if it would rather tax working people than wealthy people. If they do anything in the next few months, they should do this: rather than raising national insurance, tax the rich – tax us – instead.”

Community Led transition

People are at the heart of sustainable change. Hear from our #netzeroheroes about their community's journey: Findhorn Eco Village, tsiMoray, Broadford and Strath Community Company Eigg Electric and Isle of Harris Distillery.

Capitalism is Killing the Planet

Instead of focusing on ‘micro consumerist bollocks’ like ditching our plastic coffee cups, we must challenge the pursuit of wealth and level down, not up

Rise in House Prices

The average cost of a UK home increased by £25,000 in the 12 months to August, official figures show, with rises recorded in all regions.

Laurie MacFarlane on Property and Land

Laurie Macfarlane - Economics Editor - Open Democracy

"Full interview with Laurie Macfarlane taking a look at the recent history of UK property ownership, the crazy rise in property values that is mirrored in rent increases and personal debt, and some possible solutions to consider."

Sturgeon Deal with Greens

Sturgeon on brink of cooperation deal with Scottish Greens

"Nicola Sturgeon is on the brink of signing a deal with the Scottish Greens that would cement a pro-independence majority at Holyrood and may see the Greens taking ministerial seats."

Major reforms recommended

Major Reforms Recommended As a Handful of Families Own Half of Scotland's Land

"...Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, makes a series of recommendations to achieve land reform, including a rethink of land taxation through a land value tax or, its favoured flat rate property tax for all private owners of land and buildings. "

Economy built on rising house prices

Johnson's Tories Are Reaping The Rewards Of An Economy Built On Rising House Prices

"...Capitalism’s principal source of legitimacy since 1945 has been that everyone gets some share in the spoils of its growth, even if some get much larger shares than others. This has now been abolished: those without assets (who are predominantly younger) now have no share in that growth. This helps explain the rising appeal of socialism to those born since 1980."

Endless Growth of GDP Destroying our planet

Endless Pursuit Of Economic Growth Is Destroying Our Planet

"An economy based on taking more and more from the Earth, making more, then discarding it in the pursuit of GDP growth is pushing the planet beyond its natural limits. Our life supporting system is being destroyed in front of our eyes."

Hartlepool

Britain Beyond Lockdown: What We Learned From Two Weeks On The Road

Hartlepool, one of the stops on the two-week journey. A third of families in the town were out of work even before the pandemic struck. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

"People do not want to go back to the way things were, but the good intentions could fade without the right leadership."

Land Ownership tests

Scottish Ministers Consider Stringent Land Ownership Tests

Scottish Land Commission recommends all significant sales be subject to public interest test

Land Break Up

How Communities In Scotland Are Breaking Up The Old Land Monopolies

Buccleuch community buy-out

Scotland to get new nature reserve as community ‘achieves the impossible’!

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