Seize back stolen land to solve our homes crisis
Write to: Viewpoints, M.E.N, Mitchell Henry House, Hollinwood Avenue, Oldham, OL9 8EF Or email: view[email protected]
I HAVE a suggestion which I believe would quickly solve the housing crisis and rectify a social injustice.
It was recently reported that during the 10 years following the 2008 financial meltdown the wealth of the 600 richest landowners in the country doubled. This was during a period when many people suffered great hardship.
The majority of these landowners merely inherited this land and their antecedents paid precisely nothing for it. It was taken from the community and gifted to them by the then king or some other blueblood as a reward for assisting in repressing people - e.g. for helping Henry VIII to raze the monasteries.
These landowners own more than 50 per cent of our nation’s useful land. We have a severe housing crisis and desperately need millions of low-cost homes to be built.
A huge obstacle is the scarcity, and thus high cost of suitable land. The Government needs to reclaim at least some of the land that was effectively stolen from the community many years ago.
Legislation would not work as these influential landowners would frustrate it – the way to achieve this is via the taxation system. These landowners should be told that a swingeing land tax will be levied but offered a ‘public interest’ exemption from the tax if they sell to the Government one third of their holding at 10 per cent of its market value.
This huge acquisition of cheap land will enable millions of low-cost new houses, including a significant number for social housing, not only to be built quickly but also located in very pleasant areas rather than ‘sink estates.’ Carefully designed housing can actually enhance the environment. These land-owners will still have two-thirds of their land and will remain extremely rich!
I am convinced that if this policy is presented to the people in the correct manner it will be a major vote-winner .
David Gibbs, Prestbury
More trams are needed
I COULDN’T agree more with the letter from Disgruntled public transport traveller, Heald Green (Viewpoints, November 15).
I travel on a match day and the trams are the same – overcrowded and single units. I have contacted Metrolink to be told it is at managers’ discretion which events they need to deploy double units. If a 75,000 stadium emptying is an event that doesn’t warrant double units, I don’t know what is!
It’s a pity that when Metrolink introduced all the new by-laws last year standing up wasn’t one. They should look at their own service before they start telling the public what they can and cannot do.
Bonfire Night has gone bad
I WAS appalled to hear of the attacks on firefighters by hooligans with fireworks.
I remember my childhood in the 1950s in one of the inner city areas.
Bonfires and fireworks took place down the back entries at the back of the terraced houses and it seemed every youngster had one or both parents with them.
The adults lit the bonfire and fireworks and brought along parkin and treacle toffee etc. I never saw one bad incident and I think by 10pm at the latest it had all finished.
M. Smith, Middleton
Non-voters are majority
THANKS for you excellent article
(M.E.N, November 1) with regard to non-voters ‘winning’ a third of Greater Manchester seats.
Nationally, of the 650 seats in Parliament in 558, the numbers not voting were bigger than the winner’s majority.
What is to be made of that? Is it apathy?
Or are people fed up with the ‘jam tomorrow’ pointlessness of voting for the same old same old?
Those numbers are staggering, but the politicians aren’t bothered.
So next time you see a successful candidate doing a lap of honour, think of the true silent majority often claimed to be represented by those candidates who cannot inspire the majority to turn out at elections. On ballot forms there should be a square to register ‘none of the above’ – at least their objections can be logged and publicised.
David Christer, Timperley
Taking safety too far?
MOST readers will be familiar with the Tameside Council fiasco concerning the placement of lightweight plastic poppies on lamp posts.
I attended the Remembrance Service in Stalybridge last Sunday. The weather was kind to all and it was gratifying to see again such a large turnout.
Just to be on the safe side I donned my high-viz jacket, safety helmet, protective eye wear and safety boots. After all I didn’t fancy having a tree or street lighting column collapse on me due to the increased weight and windage created by a 300mm diameter plastic poppy weighing less than 20g!
The event went well and as the procession marched to Armentieres Square, they were backed up by the excellent WWI re-enactors.
I noted that this time the Officer on horseback was not present which was a pity.
However, I later learned that Ian Saxon (Tameside Operations Director) had been reading a paper by Newland-Cambridge University titled ‘Pedestrian Excitation of Bridges’ and he had issued instructions that the re-enactors were to break stride on Victoria Bridge in case of collapse!
Adrian Wills, Ashton under Lyne
An autumnal Pinfold Lane, in Romiley taken by Gillian Hill, of Romiley. If you have a stunning picture, then we’d love to see it. Send your photos to us at view[email protected] co.uk, marking them Picture of the Day