Call to scrap inheritance tax

Inheritance tax (IHT) should be scrapped as part of a wide range of measures designed to boost growth in the UK’s economy, an influential think tank has proposed.

A citizens’ jury, convened by BritainThinks for the business advisers PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), set out the recommendation to scrap IHT as part of a string of measures designed to reform the UK’s current tax regime.

The panel, consisting of 22 members considered to represent the British public, spent 2 days debating the purpose of tax, who should pay it, and the amount that should be paid. It concluded that the government should scrap IHT and instead introduce new and higher bands for council tax, stamp duty and land tax.

In addition to the scrapping of IHT, the panel also recommended that so-called ‘sin taxes’ on unhealthy foods should be introduced, as well as a tax on lottery wins and setting VAT at 20%.

According to PwC, the overriding message from the jury was the need and appetite for clearer and more transparent communications on tax. Kevin Nicholson, Head of Tax at PwC, said: “This citizens’ jury puts to bed the notion that tax is too complicated for the public to understand, or that there is no desire to do so. People want to be clear how tax is raised and spent and are more likely to support a system they understand.

“We’ll be looking at the practicalities of the jury’s recommendations, but what’s loud and clear is the focus on simplicity and transparency.”