Thursday, April 18, 2019

Who owns England?

Why do we need to tax land and wealth? Because otherwise we'll end up like England, where 1% of the population own half the country:

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population, according to new data shared with the Guardian that seeks to penetrate the secrecy that has traditionally surrounded land ownership.

The findings, described as “astonishingly unequal”, suggest that about 25,000 landowners – typically members of the aristocracy and corporations – have control of half of the country.

The figures show that if the land were distributed evenly across the entire population, each person would have almost an acre – an area roughly the size of Parliament Square in central London.

And this is almost certainly an underestimate: the ownership of 17% of England's land is undeclared, because it hasn't been sold for centuries. Meaning that it is probably also owned by aristocrats. many of the major corporations are also owned by them, being a corporate front for their land interests. Meanwhile, "oligarchs and city bankers" own another 17%. Ordinary homeowners own 5%.

This concentration of ownership and wealth corrupts everything. As in Scotland, it gives local landowners monopoly powers to dictate to communities. The Scottish solution is to forcibly break up those estates. England should do that too.