By Angus P. J. McIntosh, Stephen G. Sykes (auth.)
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Acting under political pressure to tax property development, Development Gains Tax legislation was also introduced in December 1973. By this time, property values in general were already falling. This legislation was more like shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. In the event, the legislation caused the stable to collapse! The loss of confidence was so dramatic the Bank of England launched a 'life boat' operation to save the banks suffering as a result of property companies going into liquidation.
Alternatively, to state that it was the growth of investing institutions as financial intermediaries which caused the property market to develop, is also an inadequate explanation. Whilst France and Germany developed pay-as-you-go pension systems, as described in Chapter 1, the USA developed a funded pensions system, similar to that in the UK. However, the North American property market only began to emulate the sophisticated UK market in recent years. This may partly be as a result of UK institutional money being invested in American cities.
The growth of these industrial and trading giants, both within the UK and internationally, has been one of the dominant trends of the last 30 years. Property played a leading role in this change and a practice known as 'asset-stripping' became prevalent in cases where the value of trading companies and their accounts failed to reflect the true value of their underlying property assets. The inflationary effects on assets, including property, was one of the reasons behind the move towards current cost accounting in the late 1970s, the idea being that a set of accounts should not only reflect the historic cost of acquiring assets, but the cost of those assets at current costs.