This morning's meeting heard evidence from Professor Tony Travers about possible changes to the tax regime in London.
Jenny Jones proposed a land value tax, to shift taxation from income to wealth, and to encourage the use of derelict land. I pointed out that this would lead to pressure for denser, more profitable housing and commercial projects, with less amenity space - not a very green proposal. It would also in effect be a tax on London, as land values are so much higher in the capital, shifting more money out of the city to the rest of the UK. Professor Travers also noted that the tax would hit people living in fashionable areas whose properties had hugely increased in value. Those who were earning low wages would be forced to sell up and move.
Gareth Bacon suggested giving stamp duty receipts to the Mayor, to be used on new affordable housing - a sum of around £1.3 billion. We were told that the current approach to tax competition meant that around the world devolved taxes were often cut and this could lead to growth in the market, and an increase in the overall recepts.
An interesting session and we look forward to seeing the recommendations of the London Finance Commission which Professor Travers is chairing.
I took the opportunity to submit the petition to keep Wanstead Police Station. The lead petitioners are Cllr Chris Cummings and Helen Zammett, both local residents who have gathered over 3,500 signatures. The Assembly unanimously agreed to pass the petition to the Mayors Office for Policing and Crime. This is the first petition against a police station closure to be presented at City Hall and I'm sure it won't be the last.
The Assembly also unanimously approved a Liberal Democrat motion objecting to government plans to temporarily relax permitted development restrictions. In outer London we already face huge pressure on our back gardens and green spaces, so any relaxation of the planning regime would be most unwelcome. The new Planning Minister is Nick Boles MP, a man who spent some time supporting Boris at City Hall - so I hope he will take notice of the Capital's opposition to this plan.