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Who Owns our Green and Pleasant Land?

August 11, 2011

Focusing on the 10,000 acre Criche Estate in Dorset which has recently come on to the market this article by Rim Adam’s in last week’s Observer draws attention to the change in the buyers of high value UK landed estates in the last 30 years. Previously it was mostly inherited wealth that provided the funds to acquire this type of property but now it becoming wealth newly acquired through the financial and commodity markets often by investors from overseas. There is a related trend in London where 60% of the purchasers of properties valued over £2 million are from overseas. These “investors” are attracted by the stability of the UK and its adherence to the rule of law, particularly in the way property rights are strongly protected. The may give  payments to the previous owner but what do these new claimants give back to the community in return for the privilege of claiming ownership to large swathes of the UK’s territory ? Carol Wilcox of the Labour Land Campaign argues that the equity of the situation could be restored by shifting taxation from its present high incidence on labour onto the land.

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