Peter Robinson in a written answer (see below the fold) has confirmed that a Land Value Tax is one of the options being examined as part of the rates review. Other areas which apply this model include agricultural land but our present rating system does not. SDLP MLA Declan O’Loan and Ulster Famers Union have stated their opposition to the idea becuase of the potential impact on rural communities.DFP questions here.
Rating of Agricultural Land
Mr D O’Loan asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel what consideration his department is giving to the rating of agricultural land.
Mr P Robinson: Under the current rating system agricultural land is not valued nor rated and there are no plans to do so. However as you are aware the current review of the new domestic rating system that was introduced by Direct Rule Ministers in April 2007 is examining a wide range of options for change in the short and longer terms, which were included in terms of reference agreed by the Executive. Strand 2 of the review is addressing longer term issues including possible alternatives to the current arrangements and one such alternative, is Land Value Taxation.
I have commissioned the Ulster University to investigate the experience of other jurisdictions that have used Land Value Taxation as a revenue raising measure and I understand they have shared some of their preliminary findings with the DFP Committee. It is clear from the preliminary evidence provided by the Ulster University that in those countries that apply land value taxation, agricultural land normally forms part of the tax base.
However, their work is not yet complete and therefore no decisions have yet been taken. Once I have had time to consider their full findings and taken the views of the DFP Committee I will bring forward my recommendations to the Executive later in the year.