Two opinion polls found overwhelming support for George Osborne’s inheritance tax announcement:

  • YouGov for The Sunday Times found that 66% of voters thought the £1m threshold for IHT was a good policy.  Only 18% thought it a bad policy.
  • BPIX for the Mail on Sunday found that 71% supported "the Tory plan to cut inheritance tax".  Only 17% opposed it.

Opinion polls for The TaxPayers’ Alliance (this year and last) have, of course, been arguing that lower taxation is a vote-winner.  In tomorrow’s Times, Anatole Kaletsky explains why he agrees that lower taxation is now vogue again:

"After many years of disappointment about public service standards, voters are deeply sceptical about promises from all politicians, regardless of party, to improve education, clean up hospitals or make the streets safe. This does not mean that voters are indifferent to policies on crime, health and education. They care about public services a lot and would reject any party that looked like doing major damage in these areas. They may not, however, attach much weight to any promised improvements until these are clearly demonstrated in their own lives. Tax cuts, on the other hand, are palpable as soon as they are announced. If the sums involved are substantial – and a potential inheritance tax change worth up to £240,000 certainly qualifies – a large, unconditional tax cut will, rightly or wrongly, outshine all other differences between the parties in the eyes of many voters. That discovery was last week’s true horror for Gordon Brown."

Kaletsky is surely right.  53% of voters told the TPA that more than £20 of every £100 that government spends is wasted.  Labour will undoubtedly reform IHT in some way to try and steal the Tory thunder on tax but Brown has had a decade to do something about this tax and has done nothing.  BPIX found that the Tories now have a 40% to 23% advantage on tax as an election issue.  We’re also 42% to 18% ahead on immigration, 35% to 24% on law and order and 28% to 24% on Europe.

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