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Section 8.6. The Government is required to raise a significant proportion of its public revenues, in the form of ground rent or an equivalent form of land taxation, from Scotland’s greatest natural resources, namely its land, its air space and the seas under Scottish jurisdiction.

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Original Version

  • Avatar admin
    Administrator #1  •  2020-08-20 17:48:42

    Section 8.6. Section 8.6. The Government is required to raise a significant proportion of its public revenues, in the form of ground rent or an equivalent form of land taxation, from Scotland’s greatest natural resources, namely its land, its air space and the seas under Scottish jurisdiction.

      • Jim Osborne

        Section 8.6. it is not appropriate in a Constitution to prescribe how a government should design a taxation system - that is a matter for Parliament to decide on the basis of proposals brought forward by an elected government and any taxation proposals would form part of the election manifesto of political parties competing for seats in Parliament. Land taxation is relevant to the wider agenda of land reform and again that is a matter to be decided by a Parliament operating under the provisions of the governing Constitution of the country.

          • Arfem

            Section 8.6. You have great faith that Scotland’s politicians are immune to the lobbyists of the landowners and Landlords. If you are correct we have little to worry about, but just in case why not put it into the Constitution? There is no rule book of what should or should not be included in their Constitution - surely that's for the people to decide.....

            No responses
      • Tim Rideout

        Section 8.6. I agree with Jim Osborne - this section should be deleted entirely as specifying what tax should be collected has no place in the constitution. While a Land Tax probably should be one of many taxes, there is a big problem with using it as a large part of the system. A Land Tax is easily avoided by simply minimising your ownership or occupation of land. Imagine Bill Gates in a small flat - his tax bill would fall to almost nothing. It could easily be highly regressive unless the tax rate was much higher on larger land holdings.

          • Abrach

            Section 8.6. I agree that this level of specification shouldn't appear in a Constitution. In passing though I'd make the point that minimising ownership of land is highly desirable; it starts to break up the big estates and encourage development.

            No responses
      • Rod

        Section 8.6. Not appropriate to specify tax raising methods in the constitution. Cut this section.

          • Arfem

            Section 8.6. Beg to differ - this is not too specific - it is a general statement of principle and precisely what is needed in a progressive Constitution. There is a related amendment posted under Section 1.5.
            If you don’t like it you can vote against the original wording above, or you can perhaps suggest an alternative we can all consider, but for me anyway, deleting or cutting has little to do with debate or democracy

              • Tim Rideout

                Section 8.6. If you want to do Land Reform then do Land Reform, e.g. no person may own more than 1% of Scotland. Specifying what taxes there should or should not be is not appropriate in a Constitution as I said. You might also note that a Government does not require revenue. The correct sequence is that the state first creates money by spending it into existence, it then circulates and at some later point some of it is taxed back and the IOU (which is what money is) is thus destroyed. Spending funds taxes and not the other way round. The fiscal and monetary policy should be managed to maximise employment. Too much unemployment means increase spending and or cut tax, too much inflation means cut spending and or increase tax.

                No responses
      • Ian Kirkwood

        Section 8.6. Scotland should collect its economic rent as state revenue. A constitution intent upon collecting Scotland's net income would be correct to note that it is found in the rent of its land and other natural resources. As all taxes come out of rent (ATCOR) there is no possible avoidance of collecting the full total this way. As collecting the country's rents direct avoids inflicting deadweight losses on production (when jobs and trade are taxed) it is vital - if the constitution cannot so demand - that two requirements be fulfilled by any Scottish Government:
        1. The Scottish Government shall compute the deadweight losses of each tax it proposes to enact each year, explaining its computations.
        2. Parliament shall publish Deadweight Loss computations annually for each proposed tax for public and parliamentary scrutiny in advance of any parliamentary vote in a budget.

          • John Digney

            Section 8.6. I agree with Ian Kirkwood, and must disagree with those who say this shouldn't be included. The socialisation of economic rent through land value taxation is far more than a detail of tax policy to be determined at a later date. It underpins the axiom that the land of Scotland belongs to the people of Scotland, not just to the few. It gives practical expression to that, and it restores the principle of conditionality. The concept of outright private "ownership" of land was imposed on Scotland, and if Scotland is to make its own way successfully it must emphatically reject and reverse that. There is a an elegant logic to the idea that those who claim to own the country should be responsible for its running costs, and that must be embedded in this Constitution.

              • Duncan Pickard

                Section 8.6. I agree with John Digney and Ian Kirkwood . Section 8.1 should be:- The government is required to raise a significant majority of its public revenues in the form of annual ground rent or an equivalent form of taxation from Scotland's natural resources which include its land, its air space and the waters under Scottish jurisdiction to allow taxes on employment and trade to be reduced or abolished.

                  • MaryMcCabe

                    Section 8.6. I agree with John Digney and Ian Kirkwood. Scotland has an exceptional problem with the unequal distribution of land (responsible for our uneven distribution of population and our emigration problem). Land taxation may be a peripheral income source in most countries; here it underpins a whole range of issues: private versus public land ownership, the housing shortage, depopulation and foreign speculation. I would include undeveloped land which at present largely escapes taxation (I proposed a resolution about taxing unproductive land at SNP Conference a couple of years back - it got passed unanimously but nothing's happened since). I would word section 8.6: The Government is required to raise a significant proportion of its public revenues from Scotland’s greatest natural resources, namely its developed and undeveloped land, its air space and the seas under Scottish jurisdiction.

                      • Bennachie

                        Section 8.6. Feu was long the most common form of land tenure prior to the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. Feu is the Scots word for Fee. Essentially a payment is made for the use of the land to the Feu superior, who in turn passed the payment up through intermediate superiors to the Crown (State treasury) who is the first superior (overlord). When I bought my first house in 1970, I was required to make a separate feu payment for the use of the land my property (house and garden) were located on. The proposed Ground Rent system appears to be a modern equivalent of the Feu system, only paid directly to the treasury to fund public services?

                        No responses
      • Diane Redhead

        Section 8.6. Could this section be written so as to establish the Government right to impose taxes of this kind, but without dictating that they must act in a specific manner - this Constitution should be durable over many years.

          • Arfem

            Section 8.6. Is it not remarkable how discussion can resolve apparent complexity into a simple principle? The King used to own all the land and parcelled it out to his cronies in return for political and military support. The Declaration of Arbroath transferred basic sovereignty to the people and here we are at long last, considering how to make it happen. If as Bennachie says Scots law could abolish the feu system in 2000 it could surely be revised and reinstated to make the State the ultimate landowner and base a tax system on it – whether it’s a modest flat, a shopping centre or a sporting estate. The great advantage being no one can ship any of it off to a tax haven or fiddle the books….

              • John Digney

                Section 8.6. Yes, absolutely right. And Bennachie makes a good point about the contrast between Annual Ground Rent where the payment is to the public purse, and the feudal system where it was to the superior. However, the long-overdue abolition of feudalism inadvertently removed a crucial vestige of the conditionality and public interest in our land tenure system. At the apex of the feudal pyramid was the Paramount Superior represented by the Crown. In his 1998 book “How Scotland is Owned” Robin Callander explained how in Scotland, unlike England, the Crown derives its sovereignty from the people – the “Community of the Realm”. Thus ownership of the land is ultimately vested in the people. The Paramount Superior concept was a casualty of the reform, described as “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”.
                It is vital that a new Constitution reinstates the principle of the land belonging to the people. AGR would restore the reciprocality of “owning” land and re-affirm the public interest.

                No responses
          • David Scott

            Section 8.6. Agree in principle, and comment additionally that in "Economc" jargon, eg per Adam Smith's WoN, the correct word is "Rent" (not Tax). There are people who might support Independence but who are pathologically opposed to "Tax", but the idea of paying rent is natural to their business attitude. Independent Scotland must be "Business-friendly", Utopia can follow, using the Amendment Procedure.

            No responses

Proposed Amendment to Section 8.6.

  • LouMCowan

    Remove the word significant

    Section 8.6. Section 8.6. The Government is required to raise a proportion of its public revenues, in the form of ground rent or an equivalent form of land taxation, from Scotland’s greatest natural resources, namely its land, its air space and the seas under Scottish jurisdiction.

    3 votes  |  I agree 3 I disagree 0
    No responses

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