Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Good Tax?

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No taxes are fun to pay. But a recent conversation made me think that stamp duty – the tax you pay when you buy a new home – might be a good thing.

I was speaking to one of our partners in North London – a local charity which provides great places for children to play. We sat in the recently reopened community centre at the heart of a council estate and talked.

I mentioned how great the centre was. It always feels like a great place to stop by for a cup of tea. Every time I have visited it has been buzzing with local residents.

As we chatted, however, our partner commented that, ‘this place has really changed since I lived here’. ‘Really?’, I queried, ‘how so?’. He told me that he’d grown up on the estate and had lived there for over twenty years. Back then, he described, it was the same local families who had lived there for years. The children all went to school together, and there was a real sense of community. Now, however, families only stay for a matter of months before moving on. The community has lost it’s sense of identity and the ties that come through neighbours becoming friends over time.

The conversation left me reflecting, has our society really become so fluid? And if so, is this what is causing the lack of social cohesion that many areas seem to be suffering from?

And most importantly – how do we address it?

Which brings us back to stamp duty. A tax on moving feels like quite a good idea if you want families, communities and individuals to grow roots.

What do you think?

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