This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Inheritance Tax and the Tories

For a party that talks of 'fair' taxation I hope the Lib Dems [and Labour] will leave any commitments to slashing / abolishing Inheritance Tax to the Tories. Jackie Ashley's views in 'The Guardian' today chime with my own. She says :

"While it's true that fast-rising house prices have brought many more people into the ambit of inheritance tax - Scottish Widows thinks up to 40% of households may eventually be hit - this remains a powerful engine of social fairness. Only 6% of estates pay the tax at present, and it puts a modest cap on the accumulation of wealth and power in some families.

At a time when the super-rich can avoid so many taxes, it means that the wealthier families cannot simply transfer all their advantage to the next generation. If family homes are sold to pay inheritance tax, rather than passing to the next generation, that releases more properties on to a market desperately short of housing. Is it really fair that those whose parents were lucky enough to have enjoyed rocketing property prices should simply pocket all the advantage? In a country where social mobility is an increasing problem, inheritance tax helps. You would have thought a Labour government could be a little more vigorous making the case for its defence".

In my view the Tories are lurching all over the place is search of a narrative that keeps on board the traditionalists but has wider electoral appeal. The Economic Competitiveness Report and their Tax proposals suggests the dinosaurs of the right are increasingly confident and vocal. Luckily for the rest of us their ideas are unlikely to win over anyone but the already committed Tory. More of this and [happily] defeat number four awaits the Tories ! They're losing the plot again ?! Hague, IDS, Howard all realised that a shift to more moderate political ground was necessary and all tried to do so briefly, but the their party wouldn't let them, nor were the leaders convincing as 'moderates' - too much 'past form'. Is Cameron following suit ?

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