The Lib Dems have just pledged to scrap inheritance tax and introduce a lifelong gift-tax

The Lib Dems conference is not just about Brexit it seems - a motion on wealth inequality was passed in a bid to plump the Treasury with an extra £15 billion.

While Brexit is the undeniable hot topic of this conference season, there’s still plenty of other interesting stuff going on. 

Not least from the Liberal Democrats, who have descended on Brighton for their autumn conference.

And today Vince Cable’s party has agreed on scrapping inheritance tax altogether and replacing it with a heavier levy on big financial gifts.

A motion on wealth inequality put to conference read:

“Wealth inequality is expected to worsen in the coming years, due to stagnant wages and rising debt, automation, growing numbers of young people unable to get on the housing ladder or save for the future, and an increasing flow of inheritances.”

It proposed to address this imbalance by:

  • Abolishing the separate capital gains and dividend tax-free allowances and instead taxing these through the income tax personal allowance
  • Aligning capital gains and income tax rates while introducing a basic inflation or “rate of return” allowance
  • Abolishing capital gains forgiveness at death, which creates an incentive to hold on to assets to avoid paying tax

Instead a new levy on large financial gifts received over a lifetime would be imposed, which would be applied by bands (much like income tax).

But fear not, there would be a £250,000 tax-free lifetime allowance, so your grandma can keep sending you that tenner for Christmas.

The party said it would be Treasury could raise an additional £15 billion a year with these and a few other proposed tax reforms.

Commenting on the new policy, Cable said:

“While the Conservatives talk about burning injustices, Liberal Democrats take them seriously. That is why my first major speech as leader was on inequality, in particular the widening inequalities of wealth and opportunity between the generations that risk tearing up the social contract.

“While it is increasingly clear that taxes will have to rise if we are to afford the crucial public services and investment we all rely on, hard-pressed workers should not be the only ones paying up. It is time to put Britain’s wealth to work.”

Feisty talk for a party infamously known for its unholy alliance with the Tories. But every sinner should be given a chance to repent (or so Tim Farron would make you believe).

Joana Ramiro is a reporter for Left Foot Forward. You can follow her on Twitter for all sorts of rants here.

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