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BUDGET BULL'S-EYES. (FEDM THE BUDGET LEAGUE.) The Land Valuer Taxes are now practi- cally pawed 1 hrough the Committee stage, and the ne't tasl for the House will be to pas," the! j Licensing Clauses of the Budget Bill. Mr. (Asquith has told us that on those Clauses the struggle will be- short, sha.rp, and decisive. (Trie whole -natter of licensing was thoroughly discussed 1: st year on the Licensing Bill, and it will be found that in the form they emerge —as taxes upon the sales of' drink—the licence duties of this, bill will be as near complete justice as such, a thing can attain to. Besides, the brewers and distillers have al- ready obtained from the public sufficient pro- fit to pay for the highest licence duties that could possibly be put on. They cannot both have their cake and eat it. If they had wanted a grievance they should not have j raised the price of beer until the duties had been, passed. Having raised the price some months before the duties were oi,, thev can f now be perceived to be in the position of men. who have exploited their grievance and turned it into gold. Such people are nor. often pitied. » » The landlords have been ashed to pay their sharf of the Dreadnoughts, and have taken the request with a very v-ry race. The work- ing classes will now be asked to IJay their sli -,re. We believe that they will give a leson,ito their superiors. They will see that if they' have to pay at all it is better to have to pay out of their luxuries than out of their necessities. e The final shape in which the Land Values Taxes passed the House of Commons was one that-, takes away the last shred of a grievance from: those who will have to pay. It is now quite clearly not a, tax on laud, but on ex- ceptional land values. Agricultural land is exempted; gardens are exempted; small hold- ings are exempted, even from such tax as would fall on their building values. Small in- crerftents and small leases are also exempted. The taxes, in short, are a toll to the State from those big windfalls which are created by the social conditions of England. What are those windfalls? The first wind- fall is that which comes as what John Stuart Mill called the unearned increment" on land in the neighbourhood of great cities. The second windfall comes when long leases expire and there is a big increase on the re- version. The third windfall comes when land is held up and kept out of the market until buyers are forced to give an abnormal price. In all three eases the State will aek for a toll; and if, at so many people argue, there are no such windfalls, then the toll will not have to be paid. ¡ AL .M If the windfalls come, then the fortunate people who receive them ought to be willing to give a tax, as, to quote the words of a wit- to give a tax, as, to quote the words of a wit- ness before the Town Holdings Committee,, "a general contribution towards civilisa- tion." Their profits are due to civilisation, and, therefore, they ought to do something for ci vilisa tion. ° » Now that the leasehold system is being up- held as a divine institution, it is worth while to take a few dipis into the evidence of the Town Holdings Committee. No town has h; 1 a worse experience of the leasehold system than Liverpool. This is the judgment of Mr. Enoch Harvey, a solicitor of Liverpool and a pa,st President of the Liverpool Law Society: Reluctantly I have on forced to the opinion that the leasehold system as exem- plified in Liverpool is an unmitigated evil. and the sooner it is abolished the better. That is the general opinion. Mr. Chaplin calls upon Mr. Lloyd-George to apologise for his use of the word blacK- mail" in referring to the Gorringe case. If Mr. Chaplin will read the Limehouse speech carefully, he will find that Mr. Lloyd-George strictly applies that language not to any indi- vidual, but to the system of leaseholding which enables such heavy tolls to be levied". But in view of all the cant that is being talked on this matter, it may as well be said at once that though the Duke of Westminster un- doubtedly exercised his legal rights in taking this monopoly value, yet he exercised them in such a way as to throw an excessive strain on any system of private ownership in land. The Irish landlords had the strict letter of the law on their side when they evicted the Irish, tenants in the famine days. But where are the Irish landlords now? The .fact is that every system of land-hold- ing in the world will require to be exercised with equity as well as legality, even by a Duke, We recommend to our readers a sixpenny pamphlet entitled The Budget, the Land, I and the People" (Methuen and Co.), issued and sold by the Budget League, with a pre- face from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The book will be found to give an admirable summary of the argument for the land values taxes, together with an immense number of cases that have been carefully sifted. The pamphlet presents an overwhelming case, and will afford splendid material for speakers and writers. It is cheap at the price, and we heartily recommend it to all your readers.




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