Labour Versus The Landed Gentry

Labour Party Plans Land Reforms

Britain’s largest private landowner today is the Duke of Buccleuch. He inherited 277,000 acres because after King Charles II granted land holdings to an illegitimate son. The Labour party produced a research report called Land for the Many. It’s the first time a British political party attempted to address the unequal land distribution.

  • There are dozens of proposals in the report, ranging from land laws to technicalities:A proposal to increase transparency. It has been over a hundred years since there was an official audit of land ownership. It is unclear who owns what. The first step is to map the data and the proposal for transparency will serve to highlight the extent of the uneven distribution.
  • Plan to create a Common Ground Trust, which would buy the land under a house in order to bring the price down for first time buyers. The land would then be held in trust, with residents paying a ground rent.
  • A major drive to build and provide more social housing. This should be built on existing public land where possible, and the sale of land to fund local government services should be paused.
  • Replace council tax with a progressive property tax, with higher rates for second homes or empty homes.
  • Encourage community planning for new developments. 
  • The right to roam across uncultivated land and water.

These policies may be included within the next manifesto. At present the proposal are only points of discussion.