Equality in ownership: Housebuilding and taxes must come centre-stage

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The argument for widely spread asset-ownership is a politically ecumenical one. On the left, a radical tradition of supporting equality in property ownership can be traced back to Tom Paine, via a host of thinkers such as the economist James Meade, the Labour revisionist Douglas Jay, and pre-war social liberals like Leonard Hobhouse. But it was a Tory member of parliament, Noel Skelton, who first coined the phrase ‘property owning democracy’ in the 1920s. He provided intellectual leadership to a group of young Conservative MPs that included Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan, for whom broadly shared economic prosperity was a touchstone belief. Only later did the term become associated with Margaret Thatcher, who, unlike Eden and Macmillan, presided over a period of rapidly rising income and wealth inequality, but whose signature policies of utility privatisation and council house sales came to epitomise popular capitalism in the public mind
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationProgress (Labour's Progressives)
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2016


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