A week ago ConservativeHome readers approved a call for the abolition of inheritance tax. On Sunday Stephen Byers issued his surprise call for the abolition of the "unfair and punitive" tax. The Taxpayers’ Alliance was impressed with the Byers intervention and feared the Conservative Party was in danger of being left behind:
"What is also interesting is the fact that the Lib Dems and now factions within the Labour Party are starting to see the potential that campaigning on taxes has. The Lib Dems have correctly judged that the issue of thresholds is extremely powerful electorally – we think the same. And Byers is right that the public also dislike inheritance tax and that message can be made popular, just as Alan Milburn was right to flag up the issue of the failure of tax credits back in the Spring… Unfortunately, many in the Conservative Party are still determined to campaign today as if we were still in the 1990s. They cling to a belief that talking about lower taxes will make them look "selfish", "out-of-touch" etc. That is wrong and they risk being left behind if they don’t accept this fast."
This morning’s Telegraph reports that George Osborne thinks it "irresponsible" to commit to scrapping IHT this far from a General Election but he did say that he was looking at reform options. These include "raising the threshold, cutting the rate, or exempting a person’s primary home".