Inherited wealth…redux August 26, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
In case you missed them, here are those unjust ramifications again.
1) Of the late duke’s [of Westminster] approximately £9bn, approximately £0bn goes to the taxman. I’m sure the Treasury gets some money, but nowhere near a billion quid, let alone the £3.6bn that would be owing if the estate were liable for the standard 40% inheritance tax rate. But it isn’t, obviously, for reasons that are as literally legal as they are figuratively criminal.
2) Of the late duke’s approximately £9bn, approximately £0bn goes to his three daughters.
3) Of the late duke’s approximately £9bn, approximately £9bn, and the titles of Duke of Westminster, Marquess of Westminster and Viscount Belgrave, go to his third child and only son, Hugh (25).
A lot of people don’t like inheritance tax. It feels like stealing from the dead. It isn’t, but it feels like it. The reasoning goes: I worked hard for my money, I paid tax on it when I earned it (not all of the above quite applies to the late duke), so why shouldn’t I be able to leave it all to my children? Why should the taxman get any?
The answer is that, in order to pay for public services, the government should take money out of the economy where it’ll be least missed, where its absence is least likely to plunge people into poverty or reduce consumer spending. The money of the dead is therefore ripe for taxation: the owner no longer needs it, and his or her heirs have been doing OK without it up to now. Inheritance tax doesn’t discourage earning, it discourages dying, which I think we can all get behind.
It’s interesting, isn’t it even if clearly the duke is at the extreme end of the spectrum in relation to this, and Mitchell explains the rationalisations behind the duke’s thinking. One which is hedged in by concepts of family (yes, that again) where, as the former puts it, a scrap of shared DNA that passes down multiple generations is more important than ‘his own daughters,never mind the patients of the NHS’. Yet these are, for some, the ties that bind. It’s a peculiar view of the world.