Debating the 'death tax': the politics of inheritance tax in the UK

Prabhakar, Rajiv (2011). Debating the 'death tax': the politics of inheritance tax in the UK. In: Holden, Chris; Kilkey, Majella and Ramia, Gaby eds. Analysis and Debate in Social Policy. Social Policy Review (23). Bristol: The Policy Press, pp. 85–102.



This chapter looks at recent debates about inheritance tax in the UK. Politicians have often seemed reluctant to make the case for inheritance tax, and I consider how discussions of this tax have changed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as well as the new governing coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Although politicians are still wary of arguing for an increase in inheritance tax, centre-left politicians were more willing to resist Conservative calls to cut this tax. Liberal Democrat politicians were able to get the Conservatives to drop their plans to weaken inheritance tax as part of their agreement to form a coalition government, although they in turn had to drop proposals for a property tax. This chapter looks at some of the constraints and opportunities facing efforts to make a political case for inheritance tax.

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