Tories bottled it, we won’t

WHAT’s the point of inheritance tax? I only ask, because it is the most hated of all taxes, consumes so much time and energy, and generates relatively little for the Treasury that there must be a really, really good reason to keep it.

If so, it’s impossible to find -which is why the Brexit Party is ready to do away with this horrible tax once and for all. Bold, ambitious, changing politics for good: that’s what the Brexit Party is all about. Since we launched in April, just 21 weeks ago, we’ve had a huge impact. We have won a national election by a large margin and removed the worst Prime Minister and least talented Cabinet in the nation’s history. We’ve forced a wavering and bitterly divided Tory party to get serious about delivering on the will of 17.4 people who voted to leave the EU in what was the biggest democratic in British history.

This summer we announced our first major policies. We want to invest up to £200billion in left-behind regions of the UK. We’ll find the cash by scrapping HS2 (raising £100billion at least), by refusing to send £39billion to unelected bungling bureaucrats in Brussels and by redirecting 50 percent of the bloated Foreign Aid budget back to the UK. 

We want to invest billions in super fast broadband and free Wi-fi on all public transport. And we want to wipe out all accrued interest on student loans and reduce the interest rate to zero. We also want to introduce an online sales tax to replace high street business rates, which would help retailers. Nobody likes town centres full of boarded-up shops.

It has been fun watching the Tories pinching our policies. As Oscar Wilde said: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

So here’s a new challenge for them: what are they going to do about the loathsome death tax?

Ten years ago, the Conservatives flirted with raising the threshold to £1million so it affects fewer people – but they bottled it. Instead, the opposite happened. As property values rose, so more – not fewer people – were dragged in.

Our position is clear. We’d scrap it altogether.

This tax is mean; wrong-headed; hits grieving families when they’re at their weakest; and punishes those who work hard all their lives for assets they can pass on to their children. Taxed throughout their lives on their earnings; taxed through Stamp Duty when they use what’s left to buy a home; millions of ordinary people are then walloped again when they die. 

Set at an eye-watering rate of 40 percent, the hated tax has spawned an industry of inheritance planning by lawyers, accountants, tax advisers and wealth managers. Few loopholes remain, but that hasn’t stopped clever people trying. Those who can afford it get expert advice and get terribly excited about the rules, thresholds, limits, taper allowances, gift planning over a number of years and so on. Others just have to suck it up. For everyone involved, the process is stressful, time-consuming, tedious and gloomy. In the main all it does is lead to family disputes at a time of great distress. 

On the other side of the system, an army of civil servants and district values handling the paperwork are employed to spend their days checking, snooping, doubting, and probing. It’s all so negative, so dull, so uncreative.

And all for a levy that raises less than 1 percent of all tax revenue! 

Why not redirect all those legal and financial brains towards more entrepreneurial, innovative activity: new businesses, fresh technology, smarter recycling, new manufacturing? Or donate some of the time and energy to charitable causes, community activities, more public service? 

Heres the good news: the amount the Government raises from inheritance tax is less than half of our annual net contribution to the EU. Another fine reason to leave as soon as possible on a clean break Brexit.

Then all these resources can be invested in wealth generation and job creation. Abolishing Inheritance tax will benefit the economy and support faster economic growth, which in itself will raise more tax revenues.