Planning against growth

The planning system has repercussions that are felt far beyond the housing market. Higher land prices affect every area of life which requires land or has a factor of production which is linked to land, whether it is residential housing, industry, commerce or services. Wherever land is needed, high land prices matter. [...]

Time to rethink the national green belt policy

What kind of country is England? If you ask the people living here, the answer you are likely to get goes something like this: England is a country on an overcrowded island with ever-further sprawling cities and a countryside that is under constant threat of becoming covered in concrete by rampant development. According to a recent survey, 54 per cent of the respondents believed that at least half of England was developed with one in ten even estimating the development degree to be above 75 per cent. The reality, however, is far away from this perception. [...]

A plea to the next Chancellor

We, therefore, believe that any future Chancellor should learn from Mr Brown’s experience and begin his stewardship of the economy with a step that matches Gordon Brown’s courage in giving independence to the Bank of England. This is why we suggest sourcing out both the stewardship of the fiscal rules and the Treasury’s economic forecasting activities to an independent Fiscal Policy Committee (FPC), to be modelled on the MPC. In fact, we think that this is the first policy decision that Gordon Brown’s successor should make. [...]


Planning was introduced in 1947 as an attempt to co-ordinate, but also to promote development. Over time, however, its focus shifted to urban containment and it has become a brake on economic growth. It is high time to radically simplify the planning system to unleash the true development potential of the British economy. [...]

Open up the land and build a more prosperous future

WHAT makes a country rich? Reading British newspapers, the impression one could get is that ever-rising property prices contribute a great deal to our economic prosperity. House-price increases are usually reported as a good thing, but this is something that worries us a lot when they stagnate or even fall. But what do high house prices, and indeed high land prices, mean for the economy as a whole? [...]

Slippery slope

It is time to change our attitude to high land and house prices. What we should strive for is price stability at the very least. This would strengthen our economic competitiveness, and future generations of first-time buyers will thank us - if national politicians ever have the courage to stop feeding the craving of the middle class for exponentially increasing house prices. [...]

The Best Laid Plans – How planning prevents economic growth

In three previous publications the report's authors have shown that most of the problems with the housing market - low supply, high prices, overcrowding - can be attributed to the planning system. Evans and Hartwich conclude in The Best Laid Plans that the main objective of planning has been to limit the spatial extent of cities and that this artificial reduction of land supply has severe consequences for society, the environment and the economy. [...]

Vorsicht, Staatsmedizin! Was Ulla Schmidt von Englands Misere lernen kann

In Zeiten der Diskussionen um die Reform des deutschen Gesundheitswesens lohnt ein Blick nach Großbritannien. Dort kann man lernen, wie ein Gesundheitsdienst besser nicht organisiert werden sollte. Es heißt, um in London zu leben, müsse man entweder reich und berühmt oder doch zumindest verrückt sein. Man sollte allerdings auch gesund oder wenigstens privat krankenversichert sein, denn sonst bekommt man es früher oder später mit dem National Health Service (NHS), dem staatlichen Gesundheitsdienst, zu tun. [...]

Taxing land value is just another questionable tax

There has recently been much public debate about the introduction of a land value tax. To its supporters such a tax promises to achieve several goals simultaneously. On closer inspection, however, the arguments in favour of land value taxation are not convincing. On the contrary, the economic foundations on which proponents of this tax rely are dubious, and there are significant legal, moral and practical problems with land value taxation. [...]

A property-owning oligarchy?

The British seem to be fixated with house prices and follow the development of the property market like the weather report or the latest football results. Prices have been going up and up in the past, and if annual house price inflation occasionally drops to a mere five or six per cent, one can already hear commentators becoming fearful of a slump. [...]
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