Friday, 19 June 2009

Should Tories reconsider Inheritance Tax pledge?

Neil O’Brien argues in the Telegraph that the Conservatives should drop plans to cut inheritance tax. I can see his point.

Although George Osborne’s proposal is to be funded by a tax on non-doms, it is inconsistent with the imperative of tackling Britain’s budget deficit. Quite simply, tax cuts are an aspiration for governments beyond the immediate future. In the short term priority must be given to combating the public debt and delivering public services as efficiently as possible, whilst striving to retain quality.

Making inheritance tax an exception to an important rule has the capacity to confuse an issue where the Conservatives appear increasingly credible in comparison to Labour.

The electorate is not naïve enough to swallow Gordon Brown’s claims that his government represents continued investment in public services, whilst the Tories offer cuts. It is fully appraised of the baleful state of the nation’s finances.

But whilst voters understand that spending will be slashed by Labour as surely as it will by the Conservatives, they must also remain convinced that the latter party will not forward a tax cutting agenda at a time when every pound is needed.

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