Rezoning land and speculative gain

 

Sir, – Reports that the Government may introduce measures to take up to half the increased value of rezoned land are welcome (“State to seek half rezoned land value rise”, News, August 2nd).

However, they come with a sense of déjà vu.

One of the overlooked provisions of the 2009 National Asset Management Agency Act was the provision of an 80 per cent tax on land rezoning.

Sadly, this provision was terminated by the 2014 Finance Act, in the mistaken belief that the provision had failed as it had not generated significant revenue.

The rationale for taxing rezoning should be to limit speculative gain rather than generate revenue.

The proposed reinstatement of a rezoning levy is welcome but must be set at a high enough rate to deter those seeking private profit at the expense of affordable housing.

Rezoning works best when undertaken for the common good, rather than for private profit.

Few would wish to see a return to the murky dealings that led to the Mahon planning tribunal.

Suggestions of a “use it or lose it” zoning mechanism, however, are problematic, as land is either appropriate for development or not.

Instead, the introduction of an annual site value levy would be a better way to encourage landowners to build, rather than hoard land.

The renewed interest in tackling the housing crisis is welcome, but we must ensure we don’t create future difficulties. – Yours, etc,

CIARÁN

CUFFE MEP,

Green Party,

Stoneybatter,

Dublin 7.