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Top Tories will make £7m from Tory policy

From The Mirror:


Tory Cash: the truth


David Cameron's closest Tory chums will make £7.1MILLION from his plans to slash inheritance tax for the super-rich.


A Mirror investigation has found that 18 millionaire members of the shadow cabinet will save up to £520,000 each under the Conservatives' flagship policy.


Among those benefiting from the controversial plans to raise the tax threshold to £2million are shadow chancellor George Osborne, foreign secretary William Hague and Mr Cameron.


Angry trade union leaders last night said it was a blatant example of the Tories looking after their own. Unite general secretary Derek Simpson said: "They want to feather their nests but make hard-working families work longer and for less."


The multi-millionaire members of David Cameron's shadow cabinet are not exactly short of a bob or two to leave to their children...


But thanks to the Tories' own policy on inheritance tax they will be able to leave even more if they do manage to grab power.


Eighteen out of 32 super-rich members of the shadow cabinet will be better off by at least £120,000. And the estates of Mr Cameron, shadow foreign secretary William Hague and shadow chancellor George Osborne will all benefit by more than £500,000 each.


In total Mr Cameron's closest Tory chums will make more than £7million from his plans, a Mirror investigation has found.


Stunned Labour MPs and union chiefs last night said it showed top Tories still want to look after their own while planning cuts for the rest.


Backbencher Stephen Hepburn said it made a mockery of Conservative claims that "we are all in it together". He added: "For far too long Tories have got away with claiming they are on the side of working people.


"The reality is they have a deep-bred instinct to look after their own. These figures reveal that clearly."


Under Labour plans, from next year married couples will start paying 40% inheritance tax on their estate once it is worth more than £700,000.


But the Tories want to raise the starting point for the tax to £2million.


This would mean a maximum of £1.3million extra would be untaxed - a saving of £520,000.


Among the wealthy shadow ministers who will save this huge sum are the leader in the Lords Lord Strathclyde (worth £10million) and shadow treasury secretary Philip Hammond (worth £9million).


To put the figures in perspective, while just six per cent of estates across the UK will benefit from the Tory plans, the figure is 56% for Mr Cameron's shadow cabinet allies.


Angry Gloucester Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda said last night: "This a clear case of 'I'm all right, Jack'. It might make sense for the Tories to push this for themselves and their pals but it does nothing for the rest of us."


And Unite general secretary Derek Simpson said: "The Mirror's investigation shows just how self-serving the Tories really are. They want to feather their own nests but slash our public services and make hard-working families work for longer and for less.


"Working families should fear the Tories - they are not on their side. A Tory government would wreck Britain's economy and public services."


The Tories have already said they will impose a pay freeze on seven million public sector workers, such as teachers and nurses, if they win the election.


They will raise the state retirement age of women to 66 in a bid to deal with the £175billion national debt. But they have refused to drop the inheritance tax pledge that will help only 3,000 of the super-rich every year.


There are also doubts about how the Tories will fund their flagship proposal, estimated to cost £600million.


Mr Cameron has said they will impose a £25,000 levy on rich "non-doms"- wealthy foreigners registered as "non-domiciles" for tax purposes.


At first they said there were an estimated 200,000 people who would pay the levy, raising £5billion to pay for tax cuts. Then they slashed that to 150,000 non-doms. Now they accept there is no firm figures for non-doms in the UK.


There are also fears frontline services could be hit to pay for the Tory tax cuts.


A Labour source pointed out that the £600million needed to fund the inheritance tax plans could instead be used to pay for a £1million project in virtually every constituency in the country.


The source said: "It's about choices. The £1million per constituency would pay for extra classrooms, a health centre or 24 policemen on the beat. The Tories will use it to help the five or six richest people in every constituency."


A Tory spokesman said: "It's rich for Labour to complain about our proposals. We believe only millionaires should pay inheritance tax. What the Government has to explain is - if cutting inheritance tax is such a bad idea, why have they done it last year and this year?" The huge gap between the parties' plans, however, means Labour will use inheritance tax as a key campaign issue.


In a storming Commons performance last week, Gordon Brown launched a furious attack on Mr Cameron's plans.


He said: "This must be the only tax change in history where the people proposing it - the leader of the opposition and the shadow chancellor - will know by name almost all of the potential beneficiaries. Is this what the Conservatives mean when they say, 'We're all in this together'?"


Mr Cameron has not revealed how much his family is worth but said on TV this year: "We own a house in the constituency, we both earn good salaries. We are a well-off family."Now estates worth more than £325,000 pay 40% tax on anything above that figure - £650,000 for a couple.


The greedy eighteen


From 2010 the inheritance tax allowance will rise to £350,000 per person, or £700,000 for married couples.


Tories are proposing to raise the threshold to £1m for an individual or £2m for couples


There is just one constituency in the country where the average house price is so high the majority of constituents would benefit: Kensington and Chelsea where Cameron and Osborne live.


Last year there were 86 properties that sold for more than £2m, 70% of them in London. Each of those 86 estates would stand to save £520,000 from Tory tax proposals.


£2m is 13 times the cost of the average house.


Under Cameron an estate of £1m would benefit by £120,000; an estate of £1.5m by £320,000; and estate of £2m or above by £520,000.


 

     

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