I was working in an architectural practice at the time of the recession in 1992, and it wrung my heart to see so many established architectural practices forced to shed staff. The never-mentioned factor in the boom/bust cycles that bedevils Britain is our land tenure system. Sadly, the land factor was scarcely touched on during the public discussion that occurred in 1992 in the hope of easing the crash.
Unless land reform is instituted, there will be another cycle of boom about 2008 and bust about 2010, bringing yet another unnecessary collapse in business for architects with another painful period of unemployment for many in the profession.
I have long known of this reform, variously called The Single Tax, Land Value Taxation and Site Value Rating. It is promoted by the Henry George Foundation at 177 Vauxhall Bridge Road, SW1V 1EU, where there is a large library of publications explaining the measure. But a different organisation, the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Land Value Taxation, has also recently published a concise, comprehensive and pertinent explanation of it, which deserves to be read since it is crucial to the welfare of architects. The quarterly magazine Land and Liberty also carries news and reports on the affects of land tenure around the world.
I feel that the uk is at a watershed as far as tax reform is concerned. It must be achieved before we join the European Single Currency. If we do not, and we have to drag every European country with us in order to effect tax reform, it will be impossible, and Britain will join the Continent in a slide toward national bankruptcy.