In his keynote speech at Demos titled “Progressive reform in an age of austerity,” George Osborne refused to embrace a policy of progressive taxation or set out what a progressive foreign policy under a Conservative government would mean.
Osborne claimed that, “the Conservative Party is now the dominant progressive force in British politics.” But answering a question from Left Foot Forward on whether the Conservative party would scrap their regressive proposal to raise the threshold on inheritance tax to £1 million, Osborne embraced his policy which was intended, he said, “to reward aspiration and encourage saving for retirement.”
When it was announced in 2007, the Conservative party’s inheritance tax policy was costed at £3 billion. As Tim Horton of the Fabian Society has explained on Newsnight, the tax is progressive since the wealthiest 1% own 21% of the nation’s wealth, while the poorest 50% own just 7%. The Fabian Society have shown that only around 8% of estates on death are worth more than £325,000 (the current threshold), and only 2% are worth more than £650,000 (the spouses combined threshold).
Later in answer to a question about foreign policy, Osborne said, “Michael Gove and I stay silent on foreign policy.” Michael Gove’s 2006 book, Celsius 7/7 was described by the Telegraph as, “a ferocious philippic directed against Islamists and their Western appeasers.”Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.