Blunkett calls for reintroduction of “death tax”

/ 6 February 2015

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called on Labour to readopt the so-called “death tax” on homes to pay for social care. Mr Blunkett questioned why it was fair that children of rich pensioners “win the lottery” by inheriting the family home when they die. He said houses in London and the South East had boomed in price and suggested the profits from such rises should be taxed to help pay for social care in the North. Labour was forced to abandon plans for a 10% levy on estates to pay for social care before the 2010 general election following a wave of criticism. However, speaking at a Policy Exchange event in London, the former Labour frontbencher under Tony Blair said he supported bringing back the policy.

Source: The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express

Death Tax?  Well, it’s an uncharacteristically short word for a politician to use, but hasn’t Mr Blunkett noticed that we already have a Death Tax? More circumlocutory, sensitive or mealy-mouthed than Mr Blunkett, we prefer to call it Inheritance Tax, but a Death tax is what it is (among other things). If what Mr Blunkett is really saying is that he would like to charge a higher rate of IHT on houses than on other assets, the policy is open to all the many objections that have been put to Mr Balls’ Mansion Tax. Really, the message coming from the left wing seems to be that one way or another it doesn’t much like the concept of private ownership of property, the abolition of which, coincidentally or not, happens to be the first of the demands listed in a well-known work by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published in the middle of the 19th century.  It was wrong then and it is wrong now.