I congratulate my Honourable Friend for Hemsworth for securing this debate, which is about the society we wish to create.
Do we champion equality, fairness, and social justice, or do we perpetuate wealth and inequality? Are we a democracy or a plutocracy?
Inheritance Tax is paid by only 5% of estates.
The system is generous, allowing £325,000 to be passed on tax-free.
Where a child or grandchild inherits an estate, including a home, the threshold is half a million pounds.
Above these thresholds, a 40% tax rate is applied, meaning a one-million-pound estate would pass on £800,000.
However, there is chronic tax avoidance.
In 2016, the Duke of Westminster inherited an estate worth £9 billion.
The taxpayer would anticipate a tax liability circa £3.5 billion.
However, through tax avoidance and using trust laws, the aristocracy, and the richest in society, avoid paying their fair share.
We should be outraged.
This abuse of privilege does not only entrenches economic inequality, it places a larger tax burden upon the majority who do not inherit vast family assets, and are struggling with a cost of living crisis, stagnating wages, and the highest tax burden in modern history.
Cutting Inheritance tax will not help my constituents, and instead of funding tax cuts for the richest on the back of the poor, the Government should be looking to close inheritance tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest.
It was the 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, who passed away in 2016, that outlined his advice to entrepreneurs on how to be successful; he said, “to have an ancestor who was good friends with William the Conqueror.”
As with many tongue-in-cheek comments, there is a grain of truth.
Inheritance Tax is meant to address widening inequality in society. However, wealth and privilege are entrenched in our country.
Elite schools dominate our politics, with Prime Ministers from Winchester and Eton.
Elite universities account for the majority of our leaders.
I should correct that – a single elite university.
Post-war, 13 out of 17 Prime Ministers, over 75%, attended Oxford University.
When our leaders are entrenched in wealth and privilege, it should not be surprising that the Conservative Party seeks to maintain a status quo that sustains its existence.
Our society is dysfunctional when the richest 50 families in the UK have more wealth than half the population, some 33.5 million people.
Analysis by Ben Tippet and Rafael Wildaur, University of Greenwich, found that if the wealth of the super-rich continues to grow at the same rate, by 2035, the wealth of the richest 200 families will be larger than the whole of UK GDP.
There is immense wealth in our society, sufficient to address the range of economic, social, and investment challenges our country faces.
The accumulation of wealth, concentrated in the hands of a few, is detrimental to our society.
Those with immense wealth are not using it for the good of society; my constituency is devoid of benevolent billionaires.
However, we look to the Government to create an economy and society that utilises wealth and puts it to use to improve the quality of life for all.
This is a task the Government is failing to deliver, not through neglect, but through a willful policy that entrenches and expands pre-existing economic inequalities.