Seize back stolen land to solve our homes cri­sis


Manchester Evening News - - LETTERS, COMMENTS AND EMAILS -

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.

Mal, Ec­cles

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], mark­ing them Pic­ture of the Day

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