Good stuff from Conservative Party conference, tax cuts to raise the level of inheritance tax to a starting point of £1m and to abolish Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on properties costing up to £250,000. Inheritance Tax is simply not fair, and nearly everyone knows it. While it was only paid by the very wealthy it was just about defensible, but now that just about every house-owner in the South, and quite a few elsewhere, would get hit, then it really cannot stand. Some people in criticising this point to the relatively small number of people it affects every year, ignoring the inexorable upward trend that will eventually catch the majority of people in many communities. Then there is carping about ‘unearned income’. Unearned? I earned my money and paid tax on it and who is the government to say I can’t give it to my children? How can you have strong families if the government conspires to confiscate family wealth?
The move on Stamp Duty is inspired; property owning is at the heart of Conservatism, because that is how you give people a stake in their society and community. Getting people onto the property ladder should be a government priority, not piling on taxes and the ridiculous Home Information Packs. The good news is that they are going too.
The really clever thing is how this is to be funded in the form of a flat £25000 levy on earners with a non-domicile status. There could have been a policy to try and increase the regulation or taxation on offshore money, but that would only have made work for tax lawyers and specialist accountants. This is simple and transparent, and if non-domiciled workers find themselves worse off then the answer is clear; change to pay tax in Britain. So, we have a tax neutral proposal that still helps to push wealth into the hands of ordinary people. That’s pretty good.
What was that about an election?