Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/56

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34
THE TOWN EXTENSION PLAN

accustomed to hear alarmist cries whenever it is proposed to raise a small amount of revenue from some particular class of property, whether it be a threatened 2s. duty on the miller's corn or a ½d. tax on undeveloped land values; but if such taxes could ruin an industry, what are we to say of rates? By rates we raise in England and Wales sixty-four million pounds per annum, and the tax amounts on the average to 6s, 2¾d. in the pound. Even the income tax which is assessed on the whole of the tax-payer's income, irrespective of the class of property, only amounts to about £37,000,000 for the United Kingdom. We are therefore raising in rates from one particular class of property in England and Wales nearly double the amount that we raise by the income tax. If really disastrous effects follow from taxes upon one or other particular class of property, I think you will admit that it is rather wonderful that any of us have houses to live in or factories to work in. I believe that this particular method of raising local revenue does add to the difficulty of adequately housing the people and accommodating their industries in suitable buildings; but the essential fact after all is that the public have to pay for local administration as well as for national administration; and that, though one way may be better than another way, other things will to a large extent accommodate themselves to the particular method adopted. There can be no doubt, for example, that if we abolished rates, and put the whole of the local government taxes upon ground rents, though the tenant might not have to pay for his house quite as much in additional ground rent as he saved in rates, and though for