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Chancellor clarifies benefits statement

Reports are coming in of a heated exchange at the Conservatory Party conference between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and representatives from The Landed Gentry Association.

A spokesman told us, “Earlier in the week the Chancellor made a statement that he intended to put ‘a limit on benefits received’. Naturally we sought urgent clarification that this policy would not affect the members of our Association and our affiliate, The Land Speculators Guild. We wanted to make sure the unearned benefits we received in land value would be ring fenced and not be included in the proposed cuts.”

Dodgy Dossier continues…

Asked to explain, the spokesman continued, “Luckily, the public doesn’t understand that the rent we landlords charge tenants is made up of two parts. Some of it is a payment for what we actually provide, including the buildings and the work needed to keep them in good order, and that is perfectly fair. But because some locations are worth more than others, we also charge for that. Really it is just land value. It is created by the community and it is a benefit that we receive just by being landowners. We don’t earn it as the money just comes in anyway. But we landlords lump together the two charges – for land and for buildings – so that tenants don’t realise they paying for both.

The real danger for us is that the public will start to notice that we landowners are the biggest benefit recipients of all, and might even suggest that these benefits should be clawed back through the tax system.

Worse still, they could even realise that if revenue for public purposes were to be levied on these ‘benefits received’ – that is the value of the land – the government would not need to take anything from anybody that they had created or earned themselves, as it would then have enough revenue to run the country. That taxes on wages, good and services could be reduced and possibly even abolished. We don’t want people to get ideas like that.

The spokesman went on to say, “This is the danger we wanted clarified, and I am delighted to say that the Chancellor has given us his assurance that benefits received by landowners will remain at their present level and not be part of his spending review. George reinforced his desire to protect the most vulnerable members in society.

Mind you, we had to make it pretty clear to him that without government support and a high level of spending on infrastructure improvements our unearned income would be at risk. It could mean that our members would have to reduce the rents they charge and cut the price of land, in order to scratch a living.

This would undermine the very foundations of aristocratic society the country has enjoyed for so long, and may have considerable long-term consequences on the distribution of wealth. It may even put many traditional landowners out of business altogether. The last thing the country wants at this particular stage of our recovery is for the unemployment figures to go up, does it? Unemployed landowners would be a disaster for the country.

Members of the press were then invited to a champagne reception to meet a number of noble lords and ladies and, if they wished, play a game of Monopoly. With real money!