Out With Council Tax, In With A Green Land Value Tax!


Among property taxes in major economies, the UK’s Council Tax is uniquely regressive, individually and regionally. The UK also has the most dysfunctional housing market among large advanced countries because of its restrictive planning regime, the exorbitant privileges accorded to landowners’ rights, the nature of Council Tax and other aspects of taxation. Replacing Council Tax by a Green Land Value Tax would reduce inequality and intergenerational injustice while improving housing affordability and helping the UK meet its climate goals. The green LVT – effectively a split-rate property tax – consists of a charge on the land plus a charge on the building minus a discount depending on its carbon emissions. To protect cash-poor but land-rich households, everyone would have the right to defer the tax. To avoid complex interest charges, the tax authority would register a proportionate claim at the land registry equal to the unpaid tax for each year deferred, settled upon the property’s transfer or sale.


Professor John Muellbauer is a Senior Research Fellow of Nuffield College and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Econometric Society. He is best known for his work on household economics, housing markets and on finance-real economy interactions. He has worked with many central banks and the OECD and is a frequent contributor to CEPR’s VoxEU columns, https://cepr.org/about/people/john-muellbauer