HC Deb 07 May 1968 vol 764 cc184-5
3. Mr. Eyre

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he is taking to determine the impact of betterment levy on land prices.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Niall MacDermot)

It would be impossible to isolate statistically any one factor, such as the impact of levy, from the many factors which influence the movement of land prices. But my right hon. Friend is taking steps to improve the information about land prices available to him.

Mr. Eyre

Is the Minister of State aware that land prices have risen by between 20 per cent. and 40 per cent. since the introduction of the levy? What does he intend to do to stop this trend?

Mr. MacDermot

No; I discount such wild figures as that which are being bandied about. I am certain that land prices overall have not risen by that amount. Particular cases in high pressure areas may support figures of that kind, but the general trend is nothing like what the hon. Gentleman suggests.

Mr. Rippon

Is not the Minister of State aware that there is a great deal of evidence now from auction prices all over the country? Do not these show that land prices are at least 20 per cent. above the level which obtained before the Land Commission Act?

Mr. MacDermot

No; I do not agree that the increase is as much as that. If the evidence comes from auctions I should think it rather tends to show that it is not due to the impact of the levy.

Mr. William Price

Has not the Land Commission been an expensive flop? Will not the Government scrap it and start again with the straight acquisition at fair prices of all development land?

Mr. MacDermot

It is quite unfair to try to judge the Land Commission on its acquisitions to date, for reasons which will become apparent from the Answer to a later Question.