This isn't quite how the distinguished Solon, Vince Cable, would quite put it but this is what he's intending. That he, or the state, or perhaps even more horrifying the local council, should simply be allowed to come along and steal your money.
That there might be better solutions to the housing problems is possible isn't it?
What Sir Vince is suggesting is that councils, or perhaps some new body, should be allowed to purchase land and grant it planning permission. OK, fair enough. He's also insisting upon the ability to compulsory purchase. Well, that's a power which needs to be sparingly used but we can at least conceive of that being at times justified.
Then here comes the theft:
The most eye-catching element of Cable’s speech, among sections released in advance to the Guardian, is a so-called British Housing Company, an arm’s length government agency assigned to acquiring land at low cost.
Using compulsory acquisition powers given by law, the organisation would aim to save money by purchasing land at a price that would not include a hike in value factored in to include possible planning permission.
“The aim would be to acquire sites at a price as low as 40% of land acquired in the open market without paying the ‘hope value’ which attaches to those sites currently earmarked as having development potential,” Cable is to say.
That idea of compulsory purchase is and has to be backed by the insistence that market price will be paid. That hope value is part of the market price. Insisting upon not paying that market price is theft.
It is true that it's annoying to have to pay more for that hoped for value if planning is granted. But then the only reason there is that option value is because we don't grant enough planning. If we did grant enough then the hope value would be nothing.
But then if we issued enough planning to bring the hope value to zero then we'd not need the compulsory purchase, nor the state purchase of the land, as land with or liable to permission wouldn't have a higher value, would it?
Or, as we might put it, if Vince actually tried to solve the underlying problem then he'd not need to insist upon state theft. Which would be a useful thing to do really, being as we are against both the problems in the housing market and also state theft.