Dave Hill | The Guardian: ‘Red Boris’ and the Daily Mail

Ed Miliband’s pledge to give councils new “use it or lose it” powers against land banking developers has been attacked as “Stalinist”. But Boris Johnson seems quite keen on the idea.

We gather from the Daily Mail that Ed Miliband has “lurched further to the Left” with a “Stalinist” plan to “extend state control of the property market” and take Britain back to the “dark days of the Seventies”. The horrid man wants to introduce “use it or lose it” powers allowing councils to encourage building on undeveloped land by raising taxes on its owners. There’s more: “Sites left idle could be compulsorily purchased for use by another developer,” says the Mail. What a scheming, pinko monster “Red Ed” is.

What might he say in his own defence? Why, he’d probably denounce land banking – the hoarding of development sites while their value goes up – as a pernicious practice that is contributing to the housing crisis and should be stopped in our economic interests. He would say he is all in favour of compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers being used to stamp it out and allow building to get started fast. Yes, those are the sorts of things Miliband might say. But if he did, he might be called a plagiarist. That is because exactly such an argument was made in the recent past by Boris Johnson, London’s Conservative mayor, using some of the very same words

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via Dave Hill | The Guardian http://ift.tt/1KwfEJk

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