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Land taxation is perfectly fair

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Interesting to read Marco Goldschmied's views on land values (AJ 26.3.98).

Penthouses selling at £4 million?

Site values increasing from £4 million to £50 million? Nice work if you can get it, but those of us in the real world might regard it as obscene.

As to the 'pernicious burden of taxation', what is the objection to taxing land for the benefit of the whole community when values have risen from £2000 an acre (agricultural) to £500,000 an acre (housing) simply because a planning authority has moved a boundary line?

I agree that section 106 agreements are out of date and often out of touch, but they are all we have at present. A local section 106 agreement for £10 million was just sufficient to provide essential infrastructure, roads and a primary school to serve family housing built by developers on a greenfield site. Hardly unethical and corrupt, when local authorities have no upfront capital of their own and new housing generates the need for capital spending on public services.

Perhaps Mr Goldschmied's partner, Sir Richard Rogers, will turn his 'brownfield' committee's attention towards a selective development land tax and the renewed use of compulsory purchase powers to release previously used land for the general benefit of the community?

The debate is clearly going to be stimulating.

COLIN JAMES Witney, Oxfordshire

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