Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Killer Arguments Against LVT, Not (493)

Under an LVT-supporting article in The Guardian:

acornishfarmer
average farm 213 acres ...worth £2M...
average income per acre £66 (2019 yr)...£12000
... you would bust family farming in UK for ever


Complete moron. He or she ignores how much (or little) LVT on farmland would be.

1. Size of farm - irrelevant
2. Current selling price of farmland - irrelevant.
3. Average income per acre - £66, that seems low to me, but I'll take their word for it. Of that, maybe £20/acre is average land rental value - the LVT would be a percentage of this. The rest is earned income and irrelevant to LVT.
4. Farmers (and their workers) would benefit from the same reductions in VAT* and National Insurance (those first as they are the most damaging taxes), so would at worst break even under LVT.
5. Tenant farmers - who pay on average a lot more than £20/acre seem to manage somehow. Long time LVT supporters and lifelong farmer Dr D Pickard owns some land and rents extra bits as and when he 'needs' them, i.e. if he can make a net profit after paying rent. If he can make a net profit after paying full rent, he can certainly make a net profit after paying LVT, which by definition would be less than the full rent.

* "But farmers and their workers don't have to charge VAT!" shout more morons. Directly or indirectly they very much do - the wheat they sell that end up in biscuits or alcohol are indirectly subject to VAT. They pay VAT directly on their personal expenditure. Or, if you look at tax incidence, these are borne directly and indirectly respectively. Not that it changes the maths much.

36 comments:

John said...

What is meant by 'Of that, maybe £20/acre is average land rental value'?

Mark Wadsworth said...

John "land value tax" is a badly named tax. It is a tax on that part of the normal, annual rental value that does not relate to capital improvements.

The rent for anything can be split into
a. rent for buildings, walls, landscaping - amortisation of that, maintenance and insurance. Actual costs - past, future or present - in other words.
b. rent that relates purely to location value or natural advantages. These are not actual costs to the owner, so would be liable to LVT at whatever rate. Sure, today's owner might have paid £cash for the location, but on a year by year basis, the benefit accrues to him in future without a cash cost.

For residential and commercial, doing the split is easy.
Cheapest 3-bed semi in UK goes for about £5,000 a year incl. council tax. That is our zero base line - the split is a) £5,000 and b) nil.
The LVT on these is nil.
The most expensive (in London somewhere) is £50,000 a year. The split is a) £5,000 and b) £45,000. The LVT on these is a percentage of £45,000 (the higher the better, but not above 100%).

Farmland is far trickier, so I just use £20/acre/year LVT as a guess/example. So average farming family/business/their workers pays £4,000/year LVT and saves approx. £4,000 VAT and NIC. Big deal.

John said...

Agricultural rents are between £25 papa and £75 papa. So are you saying the LVT on farmland would be (current rentable value - £25)x % tax rate?

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Arrgghhh. keep making typos.

For the third attempt ~ should have read "between £25 papa and £97 papa"

Mark Wadsworth said...

J, yes, ballpark. So overall average, the tax would be in the region of £20 papa.

Remember always that although farms and forestry are three-quarters of UK by area, they are about 1% or 2% in terms of pure land-only excl. improvements rental value. 98% or 99% is developed and urban land. Of that total, probable a quarter is central London (depending on how central is central) and another quarter is central (Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds etc).

So as Chancellor, whether we collect nothing or "a tiny bit" from farmers is neither here not there. Farmers and their workers do a great job, I don't want to tax them particularly, I want to tax the unearned element of simply owning farmland (large landowners, speculators and aristocrats).

Sobers said...

"It is a tax on that part of the normal, annual rental value that does not relate to capital improvements."

So you're going to remove from your LVT the rental value that relates to drainage, fertilising, suppression of weeds, fences, livestock water supply systems etc etc? The rental value of unimproved farmland is zero. You won't get anyone to rent it, you might get someone to take it on for free on the basis they have a long enough lease to justify the investment in all the above things that make the land productive.

All farmland only exists in the state you see because of constant investment of time and money to keep it that way. Absent that investment it returns to scrub in short order.

Bayard said...

"He or she ignores how much (or little) LVT on farmland would be."

A surprising number of people think that "land" = "farmland" and that what keeps towns and cities from disappearing into the magma is something else.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, that's complete crap and you know it.

B, indeedy.

Sobers said...

"S, that's complete crap and you know it."

So all the work I do on my farm to maintain fences, ditches, drainage systems, spraying for weeds, maintaining and installing water systems for livestock, thats not investment? If I (or my predecessors) hadn't done all that investment, and maintained it, the land would be unfarmable. Thats the natural state of land, scrub, marsh or indeed forest. Which has no rental value. Only the improved land (what you see growing crops and grazing livestock) has a rental value.

Bayard said...

" The rental value of unimproved farmland is zero. You won't get anyone to rent it, you might get someone to take it on for free on the basis they have a long enough lease to justify the investment in all the above things that make the land productive."


OK, so drainage and water supply systems are a one off. Nearly all farmland will come with these in place, even farmland that has reverted to scrub and most land doesn't need draining anyway, apart from ditches. Fertilising, suppression of weeds and maintenance of fences are part of the running costs of farmland. Yes, the rent may need to be adjusted to allow for capital expenditure on land that has been "let go", but that doesn't mean that it would be zero, i.e. that the land was worthless, in the same way as a building plot isn't worthless, even though the purchaser or, back in the day, the tenant, has the expense of building a house on it before they can live there.

Sobers said...

"OK, so drainage and water supply systems are a one off."

Er no. They degrade if not maintained, and eventually will need replacing, even if maintained. I am currently replacing drains that no longer work on my farm, some of them are 200 years old, its costing me somewhere in the region of £200/acre to do so, and thats not even a full drainage system, I'm just doing the bits that really need it. Similarly ditches silt up if not cleaned out on a regular basis, hedges run wild if not maintained regularly (this is not part of actual farming activity, it gains no output whatsoever - the annual cost on my farm is c.£5k/year to cut just half of all the hedges, and I've probably spent in the region of £100k over 10 years getting overgrown hedges to a point where I can pay the contractor £5k to cut them), and fences degrade over time as well, and probably have a lifespan of 25 years (unless you put up fences with modern 'treated' timber in which case the lifespan is less than a decade. Blame the EU for banning the good wood treatment chemicals).

Most people have no idea how much work goes into keeping the countryside looking like it does. It is not a natural landscape, it is entirely created by the people who have farmed it over the last 250 years, with huge amounts of investment of time and money to make and keep it productive, and look like it does. All those improvements to the natural landscape are what create the rental value. If you don't think so, go and pay top dollar to rent some never farmed scrub land somewhere with no drains, no fences and no water supply and try farming it profitably. The owner will laugh all the way to the bank, and you'll go bust.

Bayard said...

"some of them are 200 years old"

Well, that's not exactly regular maintenance, is it?

The point is not that farmland doesn't need regular maintenance, which it does, but that maintenance is basically replacing old with new, so the condition of the old is largely irrelevant. A completely silted ditch is scarcely more expensive to dig out than a barely silted one.
Yes, if you take over land where everything needs doing at once rather than a bit at a time, then the expenditure will be lumped into one, but a sensible landlord will come to some agreement that allows for this in the rental contract. You know what the capitalised value of the rent you would be paying on your land would be, if you did not own it, it is the value of that land on the open market, less any "hope" value. Having to spend on it to bring it back into good order reduces its value, but not by much, as can be seen by scanning the "land for sale" adverts. In the same way the rental value is not reduced to zero either.

Bayard said...

"So all the work I do on my farm to maintain fences, ditches, drainage systems, spraying for weeds, maintaining and installing water systems for livestock, thats not investment?"

No, it's maintenance, current, not capital expenditure. The fact that land will deteriorate if it is not maintained does not make it an investment, any more than it is an investment to regularly service your car to prevent it breaking down.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, lovely. Like any true Home-Owner-Ist, sooner or later, you contradict yourself without noticing and support my original point.

Claim #1 - walls and drainage are capital expenditure. The rent includes the value of these. The residual land rent is zero.

Claim #2, responding to B - walls and drainage are current expenditure as they require constant maintenance. The rental value - by definition - is depressed by the future cost of these that the tenant will have to pay for themselves.

For sure, walls and drainage require initial and ongoing effort and costs, so it's a bit of both.

But to the extent that Claim #2 is true, the residual rent can only relate to the pure inherent value of the land.

In real life, there are three main things that influence farm rents

1. Stable, wealthy society. So land in Western Europe is worth a lot more than similar land in Ethiopia, Afghanistan or Siberia.

2. Natural features - flat is better than hilly; south facing slopes are better than north facing; warm and sunny is better than cold; you want streams and drainage - not too dry but not at risk of flooding either; the type of soil in the area etc.

3. Access to markets - land in the South of England is worth more than physically similar land on the Hebrides. You need good public roads to have stuff delivered and for big lorries to come and pick up your milk or eggs or harvest.

So, across the UK, forestry land in the Scottish hills or sides of Welsh mountains only accessible by sheep are £20/acre; OK farmland up North is £60/acre and best land for cereal crops in the South (anywhere south of Birmingham or so) is £100/acre.

These prices reflect how much money you can make per acre from putting in a similar amount of effort. (I'm sure Welsh sheep farmers work just as hard as some guy in the South you just drives across his fields with tractor/combine harvester a couple of times a year and hires in East Europeans for the real hard work).

That difference - between £20/acre and £100/acre relates to the natural and locational advantages of any farmland. No amount of time or money or effort will make the £20 land worth as much as the £100 land.

And, in a perfect world, the LVT would be based on these inherent natural or locational advantages.

I just use £20/acre as a handwave, there are environmental reasons for having a flat rate.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, ta for back up!

John said...

I'm lost, and there seem to be insults flying around so I suspect this is one of those arguments based in dogma, especially this part;

"No amount of time or money or effort will make the £20 land worth as much as the £100 land."

I live in an area where much of the land is very high quality and commands high value for that reason. However, before loads of clever chaps drained it it was tidal marsh. So you could argue that they did indeed turn £20 land into £100 land by time, money and effort. Lots of the most productive UK land is the same.

Just as an aside;

"I'm sure Welsh sheep farmers work just as hard as some guy in the South you just drives across his fields with tractor/combine harvester a couple of times a year and hires in East Europeans for the real hard work"

This trope is factually incorrect, and comes from the "English working class people are lazy " bigotry which is no different to " All Gypsies are thieves" or "All Muslims are rapists" . You need to have a long think about why you thought you needed to throw that into the mix.

Top tip - most Eastern European were employed in *labour intensive* types of farming, not arable farming that is *capital* intensive.

But hey ho.


Sobers said...

You are all (probably purposely) missing the point - all land in its natural state is unfarmable and therefore has no rental value. It is only the improvements made by man, and the maintenance of those improvements that create the rental value. If you think otherwise go and buy some scrub land thats never been farmed and try to rent it out to a farmer in its unimproved state, and come back to me with how much rent you achieve.

Mark Wadsworth said...

J, Sobers is a regular here, we insult each other because of our opposing points of view, it's nothing personal. And he does have some good insider knowledge on farming and land speculation.

Sure, in the past, marshes were drained etc. Because they were worth draining; the potential profit vastly exceeded the costs. I see few Welsh mountain sides that are worth flattening.

So the natural potential was always there in Norfolk; it will never be there in the Welsh mountains.

In any event, we are where we are. There were collective county-wide efforts in Norfolk in the dim and distant past, and to all intents and purposes, they are now 'natural'. Along with the pleasant weather, overall flatness and easy access to markets. Like the Norfolk Broads - largely man made, but now part of 'nature'.

It's like oil wells. A hundred square miles of North Sea bed doesn't just magically spew out oil or gas and earn you £billions. You have to build an oil rig first at massive cost and risk.

But there is an inherent value in those hundred square miles and the government can auction them off without spending a penny. The money they pay for drilling and extraction rights relates to the natural state of things and the protections that the UK government offers (i.e. divvying up the North Sea with Norway half a century ago).
------------------
That said, while food is vitally important in human terms, in economic terms, farming is but a couple of percent of UK GDP and farm rental values are but a percent or two of total UK rents. So not worth arguing about.

I'd happily charge a minimal flat rate, like £20 papa for environmental reasons (marginal areas will be rewilded, hooray), scrap all farm subsidies and exempt farming profits and farming wages from income tax and NIC entirely.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, no need for me to do that. Others have done it. Or else they'd never have done it.

I'm not interested in 'scrub land'. The natural state of NW Europe is woodland.

Do you seriously challenge my bald statements of fact about why there's a difference between £20 forestry land and best £100 arable land in the south? What does that relate to if not political, natural and locational advantages i.e. pure land rent.

Bayard said...

" If you think otherwise go and buy some scrub land thats never been farmed and try to rent it out to a farmer in its unimproved state,"

What you are trying to rent out isn't farmland, it's just land. Farmland is farmland because someone has already done the heavy lifting of turning it into farmland.

As for land that has once been farmland and has largely reverted to scrub, with overgrown hedges and rotten fences, you can rent that out. The land to the east of my house was like that, the landlord got a new tenant in who cleared the scrub, replaced the fences, trimmed the hedges, sorted the drains and now pays £120/acre pa for the land. What the initial deal was, I don't know, but I imagine that it included a fairly hefty rent holiday.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, as ever, ta for back up.

Sobers said...

"What you are trying to rent out isn't farmland, it's just land. Farmland is farmland because someone has already done the heavy lifting of turning it into farmland."

Precisely. Farmland is the way it is because of what was done to it over the years, thus its not 'unimproved'. Unimproved is, as you so rightly point out 'just land' and thus has no rental value. It is only the improvements to it (regardless of whether they were done 5 minutes ago or 200 year) that create the value. You can't just discount all the improvements and say 'this farmland is now considered unimproved therefore we tax the rental value'.

" The land to the east of my house was like that, the landlord got a new tenant in who cleared the scrub, replaced the fences, trimmed the hedges, sorted the drains and now pays £120/acre pa for the land. What the initial deal was, I don't know, but I imagine that it included a fairly hefty rent holiday."

You're making my argument for me! As the land was it was worthless, so the landlord gave it away for free for a period, in return he the tenant implemented improvements that created the rental value he now pays.


"Do you seriously challenge my bald statements of fact about why there's a difference between £20 forestry land and best £100 arable land in the south?"

Yes, because no-one rents forestry land out at all. Its all owned and occupied. It wouldn't make sense to rent it out, because the trees are a once in a lifetime crop. Either the tenant takes all the trees during the rental period, in which case the landlord has lost a fortune, or the tenant is forbidden from removing any timber, in which case he can't make any money out of it, so why rent it?

Bayard said...

No because the LVT on "unimproved farmland" (which isn't farmland) and can't be taxed is zero, just as the LVT on things like public open space would be zero. However just because farmland is farmland because of of someone's efforts long ago in the past doesn't mean that it has no location value, otherwise land rents for the same grade of land would be constant throughout the UK.

"You're making my argument for me! As the land was it was worthless, so the landlord gave it away for free for a period,"

No he didn't. If I had formed up to him and said that I rather liked having the land to the east of my house overgrown and a nature reserve, so could I rent it for £1/pa "because it's worthless", he would have told me where to go. What the new tenant was doing was deferred maintenance on the part of the old tenant. The landlord was paying for it because he had either let the land out previously at a lower rent because of its state, or he'd failed to get the old tenant to keep the land in good order. It would have been no different if the landlord had carried out all the improvement works and let the land at the full rent from day 1.

Sobers said...

" otherwise land rents for the same grade of land would be constant throughout the UK."

They are. The rent level is determined by the productiveness not the location. Land suitable for potato farming (for example) will make the same money whether its on the Fens, in Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, or Scotland. There is no location premium for farmland, there are farmers everywhere, if its productive someone will pay an appropriate rent. Farmland close to urban areas makes the same rent as farmland in the middle of nowhere. The reason lots of hill land halfway up a mountain makes lower rents than the Fens is not the location, its the productiveness.

"It would have been no different if the landlord had carried out all the improvement works and let the land at the full rent from day 1."

Of course it is different! Without the improvement works the rent was either low or non-existent. Ergo the improvements created the higher rent.

Bayard said...

"The rent level is determined by the productiveness not the location."

OK, what would be the rentable value of grade 1 land on a now uninhabited offshore island?

"Of course it is different! Without the improvement works the rent was either low or non-existent. Ergo the improvements created the higher rent."

How is different?

Scenario 1, the tenant gets contractors in to do the work, quote is, say, £3,600, rent is £120/acre/pa for, say, 30 acres, so the tenant negotiates a rent holiday of one year, after ten years the landlord has had £32,400 rent

Scenario 2, the landlord gets the same contractors in to do the same work, cost is £3,600, income from rent is £36,000 over ten years, less the initial outlay, = £32,400.

The very fact that the deferred maintenance on the farmland costs so much less than the income receivable from the rent demonstrates that one is not directly responsible for the other. A large proportion of the the rent is for what was there before the improvements were carried out, being the soil and subsoil. If the soil hadn't been there in the first place, the land would never have been turned into farmland.
If the roof of a house has had most of its slates blown off, you would not be able to rent it out. That doesn't mean that the house is worthless, it just means that the owner needs to pay for a new roof before letting it. If, as the owner, you agree with a tenant that they will carry out the repairs and deduct the costs from the rent doesn't mean that those repairs are solely responsible for the rentable value.

Sobers said...

"Scenario 1, the tenant gets contractors in to do the work, quote is, say, £3,600, rent is £120/acre/pa for, say, 30 acres, so the tenant negotiates a rent holiday of one year, after ten years the landlord has had £32,400 rent

Scenario 2, the landlord gets the same contractors in to do the same work, cost is £3,600, income from rent is £36,000 over ten years, less the initial outlay, = £32,400."

In both cases the landlord doesn't get his rent until the improvements are done. Who pays for them is irrelevant. If the improvements are not physically done the commercial rent does not exist.

And your sums are a bit off. The quote to re-fence, drain, clear ditches and remove scrub on 30 acres of land is going to be a LOT more than £3.6k, probably by a factor of 10. The fencing alone on 30 acres is going to be somewhere in the region of £10k. Clearing out ditches and removing scrub is going to be c. £5k (it would take a weeks work with a 15 tonne excavator to clear the roughly 1400m of ditches alone around a 30 acre field) Drainage is massively expensive, somewhere in the region of £10/metre for the pipe, stone and contracting fee to install it. A 30 acre field is roughly a 350m square so if you did drains every 20m that would be c. 6000m of drainage, and cost £60k. Even if you did just the wettest parts rather than the whole field you're talking £10-20k for the field. So suddenly the improvements have cost many years rent, not one years. This is why land is left to go to rack and ruin - improving it is very expensive.

Bayard said...

Yes, my figures may be off, but the main point still stands: regardless of how much the land costs to clear, the eventual rent is the same. What you are paying for is the productiveness of the soil, as you pointed out, and that is something that is provided by nature, as evidenced by the different grades of farmland. If the land is worth bringing back into production, it will be cleared. If it is not, it won't. The same could be said of a factory or a house. Whether or not the effort is justified depends on what grade of farmland you will end up with, just as, with a factory or a house, it depends on what the value of the finished article is, which is mainly the location value of the site.



Mark Wadsworth said...

B, thanks for summing up. I got bored with his endless contradictions.

On Planet Sobers:
- there are no transport costs.
- even though the tenant in your example has created all the rental value by tidying up the land, he still has to pay rent. Hmmm.

Sobers said...

"even though the tenant in your example has created all the rental value by tidying up the land, he still has to pay rent. Hmmm."

It doesn't matter who creates it, the fact is it IS created by the improvements. You don't want to accept that because it exposes the fundamental flaw in the LVT concept.

LVT is always sold as on the 'location only rental value of unimproved land'. The truth is that there is very little rental value for unimproved land, regardless of the location. Imagine a plot of undeveloped scrub land in the centre of the City of London and you offer it for rent with the restriction that no improvements could be made to the land. No buildings, no structures, no concrete hard standings. Nothing. You can't even clear all the scrub and put a fence up. And you'd get bugger all rent offers. Because there's nothing much you could do with it bar plant some cabbages amid the scrub (which would get stolen anyway because there's no fences). All the potential uses, from building a skyscraper, to building houses, to using it as a carpark all involve improvements. Absent those improvements, or the opportunity to implement them, no-one will want to rent it.

Thus there is no 'location only unimproved rental value' to tax. It doesn't exist.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, you know perfectly well that the correct definition is

"The rental PREMIUM that attaches to land, assuming optimum permitted use. PREMIUM = that part of the total rental value that does not relate to buildings and other capital improvements"

In practice, most land is put to its optimum use, so we don't need to worry about that bit.

And, clearly, scrub land with no buildings in itself has little or no current annual rental value. Whether is is in Mayfair or on a far flung Scottish island.

To get that premium, or any rent at all, you have to [do stuff], like building an oil rig, or a building, or walls and drainage or whatever.

Now, you also know that the selling price of land is a multiple of its rental premium (i.e. anything above zero). So if you were offered, a choice between buying
a) an acre of scrubland in Mayfair with a good chance of getting planning
b) an acre of scrubland on a far flung etc with a good chance of getting planning for (what other people on similar sites are doing)

The price you would offer for a) is £millions and for b) is £a few hundred.

Why? Because of the higher future rental income when you have built your skyscraper or whatever the permitted optimum is.

So much to unimproved land.

Now, most land, as mentioned is put to its optimum permitted use. People aren't stupid. They maximise their income or profits by doing so, hooray.

So in practice, we just need to look at actual use, that is not a hypothetical thing, that is easily measured or estimated by looking at typical local rents and selling prices, or the actual income generated from that site. Then minus off the amount of rent or selling price that relates to the building (also easily established) and the remainder is pure land value.

Funny how LVT has always worked in practice. Agricultural Rates were a cornerstone of UK tax revenues until a century ago. Business Rates are still going strong. Domestic Rates were only abolished in GB (but not NI) for political reasons, i.e. getting votes from Home-Owner-ists.

"you offer it for rent with the restriction that no improvements could be made to the land."

Clearly, without planning, the rental value is still zero, that is a silly example. I refer you to the fuller definition.

There is, strangely, a market in selling pure woodland that you can't develop or inhabit and that probably has public rights of way. It's just yours for sentimental reasons. That land costs next to nothing. Duh.

So please stop making up silly example and contradicting yourself.

It is always good to compare like with like. Land WITHOUT planning and which has no chance of ever getting it has little or no value, nobody disputes that. Land WITH planning permission or a building already on it is something different. You can earn rent for it, if not now, then in the near future. So such land has much higher selling prices, reflecting the pure rental premium for land in that area (even if the building hasn't been built yet).

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, and even if we accept all your silly contentions, what is the problem?

If all actual rental value only relates to actual improvements (not true, but rung with it), then LVT is just a tax on the rental income MINUS the cost/amortisation of the improvements, i.e. the pure profit.

If you want to get bogged down in the farming sideshow (which is frankly irrelevant in the overall scheme of things), instead of £66/acre total earnings being subjected to 40% income tax and NIC, we have £20/acre being subjected to a much higher rate of tax. The overall tax payable will be much the same.

The harder you work and the more total profit you make, the lower the overall average tax rate. The family who want a few acres for Jocasta's ponies can just pay the £few hundred LVT a year on what is a luxury and not best use of land (we'd rather have more food!).

It's like having rental income from a factory, claiming Industrial Buildings Allowances as an expense, and paying income or corporation tax on the rest.

If somebody wants to (or has to because of planning restrictions) leave something as scrubland, then the LVT would be £nil anyway. Except in marginal situations where the council wants to ENCOURAGE development/active use.

Sobers said...

"If you want to get bogged down in the farming sideshow (which is frankly irrelevant in the overall scheme of things), instead of £66/acre total earnings being subjected to 40% income tax and NIC, we have £20/acre being subjected to a much higher rate of tax. The overall tax payable will be much the same."

Not for lots of individuals it wouldn't be, because income tax has a zero tax rate allowance. A small 200 acre stock farm might make (with current farm subsidies) about £20k profit. Split between 2 partners that results in no income tax (or NI in the near future) at all. Whereas there is no zero rated allowance for LVT so said partners would then be taxed on the entire rental value (whatever it might be) of their farm.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, yes, that's the farming equivalent of Poor Widows in Mansions. Do you really think that people making £100/acre are putting the land to its most efficient use?? I'm paying £3k a year council tax and it's somehow unreasonable to make them pay ca. £4k a year Agricultural Rates?

Sobers said...

" I'm paying £3k a year council tax and it's somehow unreasonable to make them pay ca. £4k a year Agricultural Rates?"

They are paying council tax too. Farm houses are not exempt, they do get a one tier valuation reduction if memory serves. But given farmhouses are detached houses in the countryside, the council tax is still above average usually.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, OK, they'd be paying £7,000, whatever.

Do you not grasp the basic point about inefficient use of assets and personal abilities?

They could rent out their land for £10k a year, go and get even half-way proper jobs and have income of £40k a year*. And some more efficient farmer - happy to pay the £10k rent - will be producing FOOD for people to EAT.

* And/or rent out their farmhouse for £10k a year. They could sell off an acre a year to pay the tax. They could sell the lot for £2m and start a proper profitable business elsewhere. They could open a camping site, do holiday lets, strawberry picking, selling home-made jam, open a pub/cafe. And these idiots struggle by on pennies?