‘Inheritance tax cut will only help the South-East’ - Reeves

Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves
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PLANS to dramatically cut inheritance tax will overwhelmingly benefit families in the South-East and should be scrapped, according to a Yorkshire MP.

Rachel Reeves produced new figures suggesting only a small fraction of Yorkshire families will benefit from the change compared to one-in-five in Prime Minister Theresa May’s constituency.

Couples can currently leave £650,000 without incurring inheritance tax, a figure due to rise to £1m by 2020 in a measure set out by former chancellor George Osborne.

Ms Reeves’s research shows in Yorkshire the constituency with the biggest number of houses sold for more than £650,000 was Harrogate and Knaresborough at six per cent.

In Mrs May’s Maidenhead constituency the figure was 20 per cent and in Runnymede and Weybridge, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s constituency, it was 18 per cent.

Of the 100 constituencies with the most properties selling for more than £650,000, 96 were in London and the South East.

Ms Reeves, the Leeds West MP, said: “These new figures reveal the Government’s inheritance tax giveaway will only benefit a wealthy elite in London and the South East at the expense of Yorkshire and Humberside and the rest of the country.

“One of the very few exceptions where people in the North will gain is the seat of the former Tory Chancellor George Osborne who came up with this unjust tax change.

“Philip Hammond should use his Budget to scrap this unjust and deeply flawed plan that will almost exclusively benefit the South at the expense of Yorkshire and the North.

“Apart from a tiny handful of well-off families in places like Harrogate and Knaresborough, this tax cut will do nothing for families across Yorkshire.”

Mr Osborne first pledged to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m when the Conservatives were still in opposition in 2008.

Mr Osborne first pledged to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m when the Conservatives were still in opposition in 2008.

The move was credited with persuading then prime minister Gordon Brown not to go-ahead with plans for an early general election.

However, Lib Dem opposition prevented the pledge being delivered by the coalition and Mr Osborne only pressed ahead with the change in his Budget after the Conservatives’ election win in 2015.