Monday, November 5, 2012

Who Owns Britain ? Article by Socialist Labour Party

Our country, the United Kingdom is part of the British Isles made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland also is the British Isles.

Our Country, the UK is sixty million acres in size; sixty million people live on those sixty million acres.

The area taken up by the homes of these sixty million people, takes up less than 10%, a maximum of six million acres. That leaves fifty four million acres uncovered by bricks and mortar. Of this, between twelve and fourteen million acres are mountain, forest, moorland, water, roadways and industrial land. This leaves forty million acres of often beautiful productive countryside. This is owned by just 189.000 families that mean 60,000,000 people live on six million acres of land and the families of 189,000 live on forty million acres of land. Therefore less than 1% of the population own 70% of the land of our country.

The vast majority of this land is held by three classes of people, Aristocrats, Baronets and the Landed Gentry. Between them, these three groups packed parliament for three centuries and provided the officers of the army, the navy and later the air force. They also provided the Bishops and Clergy of the Church and the judges of the Courts, whilst at the same time, keeping everyone else out of the power structure.

Loyalty to ones land and community is always used by governments and monarchs to motivate people to take up arms and die for their country. They call it patriotism. Yet the vast majority of Britons who died in the two world wars of the 20th Century owned not a square inch of their country’s soil.

Two Governments, Liberal in 1918 and Labour in 1945 promised in their manifestos to re-distribute the land to all the people of the country, not just a privileged few. The people were betrayed as they have so often been by the inner elite who maintain their influence at the heart of government no matter what the agenda of the party elected at the ballot box.

Today that inner elite still owns the country.

The biggest land owners in our country are the Forestry Commission and the Ministry of Defence. Most of the land they own is scrubland, with no agricultural or developmental value.

The largest private land owners are the Duke of Buccleuch who owns 240,000 acres in England and Scotland. The land value is £800,000,000 to £1 billion. His personal wealth, excluding land value, is £180,000,000 .The Duke of Westminster, who owns 129,000 acres valued at £450,000,000 plus 300 acres in central London estimated at £4 Billion, has a personal fortune of £6.6 Billion.

The Church of England is a very large land owner. The exact amount of land is not disclosed. They have used presentational deceit over many years to conceal the land owned. The estimated wealth of the Church is £4.3 Billion.

The Crown Estate is the private property of the monarchy. In 1760, George III reached an agreement with the Government over the Crown Estate. The Crown lands would be managed by the Government. The revenue would go to the treasury and in return the Monarch would receive a fixed annual payment which we call the Civil list. The Queen receives £8,000,000 from the civil list annually. In addition to the Civil list, the Monarchy receives travel and property £22.6 Million, security £100,000,000 plus the costs of local councils for royal visits. When George III reached agreement with the Government in 1760 over the Crown estate, he maintained two large areas of land in the Crown Estate. One is the Duchy of Lancaster; this is the personal inherited property of the Monarch since 1399. It is forty six thousand acres and valued at £348,000,000. Profit for 2010 was £14,000,000.

The other is the Duchy of Cornwall which comprises of 133,700 acres valued at £647.000.000 with an annual profit of £16.3 Million.

Dartmoor prison lies in the Duchy of Cornwall and the ministry of Justice pays an annual rent of £750,000 to the Prince of Wales for this. This is Tax Payers’ money.

The express purpose of both the Duchies is to provide income for the Monarch and the heir to the throne. As soon as Charles becomes Monarch, the Duchy of Cornwall automatically goes to his son William. Both Duchies are tax exempt.

Also part of the Crown Estate is the Marine Estate: the 24,000,000 acres which lie under water between the low tide mark and the twelve mile territorial limit. They are currently producing £26,000,000 in revenue from various licences granted for dredging, mining and off shore wind farms. The Marine estate also includes the foreshore which comprises of 320,000 acres.

The tiny group of land owners are recipients of £4 Billion in revenue support for their acres tax free. We the home owners of today own a miniscule amount of the country and we pay the bulk of the taxes. But the most invidious part of it is that a portion of our taxes go to those who own most of the country and who do so tax free.

Sir Reginald Sheffield, who is the father in law of David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, is worth £20,000,000. He owns vast areas of land in Yorkshire.

He also owns 3,000 acres in Lincolnshire. He recently had planning permission to erect eight wind turbines on this land. For just eight wind turbines, he gets £380,000 a year rent.

That's over £1,000 a day. The Turbines have a life of 25 years. He could collect as much as £4.4 million in that time. Wind Turbines produce renewable energy. Renewable energy subsidised by every household via their electricity bills adding an estimated £13.95 a year to the average household power bill.

The other independent country in the British Isles is the Republic of Ireland. They gained their independence from the United Kingdom in 1921 after centuries of struggle and conflict. The Republic of Ireland is 17,000,000 acres in size and has a population of three and a half million people. There are no private land owners in the Republic of Ireland. All the land is owned by the people. They own it all. The Republic of Ireland has no community charge or rates system. Water is free. Home ownership is 83% the highest in Europe.

Compare this with England and Wales, an area of 33,000,000 acres. More than 99% of the population of 51,000,000 people live in an area of 2.4 million acres. Home ownership is 66%. Between 1990 and 2000, more than 500,000 homes in the United Kingdom were repossessed.

Just like the people of the Cynon Valley, millions of people in our country have had benefit cuts, wage cuts, job losses and home repossessions forced upon them; all in the name of financial incompetence by bankers and politicians.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister insists on telling us 'we're all in this together.' Yet there is not a penny being taken off the Civil List and the tax exemptions for wealthy land owners are still in place. Why is this man talking like this?

There are twenty nine cabinet members in the government; twenty three of them are millionaires. There is no doubt that these ministers are far more in tune with the people I have described above than they are with us. We are living on two different planets.

Source; Socialist Labour Party - Wales


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