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Time may be right for land value tax discussion, says John McDonnell

Cuts to local government funding mean voters are more open to “radical solutions”, the shadow chancellor said.

A tax shake-up to boost over-stretched council coffers could be piloted under a Labour government, John McDonnell has suggested.

The shadow chancellor said cuts to local government funding meant voters were more open to “radical solutions” and there was now a window of opportunity for “rational” debate.

Labour said it would look at replacing council tax with a new land value tax in its general election manifesto.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggests time is right for a land value tax

The move was dubbed a “garden tax” by critics and Mr McDonnell admitted it had been difficult for politicians to promote the idea in previous years.

But he suggested the squeeze on council finances meant the time may now be right to make the change.

I think that people are now willing to consider more radical solutions than they have in the past John McDonnell

Speaking at the Resolution Foundation think tank, he said: “Up until now politicians have never been able to sell it properly in a way that has gained sufficient support for implementation.

“But, I think because of the issues that we are facing at the moment, particularly around the funding of local services, there may well be a window of opportunity to have a rational debate about this.

“And there may be an opportunity as well of piloting some aspects of this as well as you go into government.

“It’s a tough one. I think we are at a stage where the decline in terms of funding to local government and the consequential effect on local services, many of them are in crisis, means I think that people are now willing to consider more radical solutions than they have in the past.”

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