Left Watch

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Labour's new "pay-as-you-die" tax

Picture 11 The Express today splashes on the latest Labour plan for taxing us when we die: a scheme to allow pensioners to defer council tax payments until their property is sold or when the surviving resident spouse dies. The paper reports:

"Ministers sneaked through new rules before Christmas which allow Britain’s 11million pensioners to put off their council tax bills, using their homes as security. The scheme is to be rolled out first in Northern Ireland after the Rates (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2009 received the Royal Assent late last year.

"The law says that eligibility will be subject to the person being an owner occupier aged 60 or over. Instead of struggling to pay on a pension, the elderly would be able to put off payments until they or their spouse died or they sold their property."

 Caroline Spelman, the shadow communities secretary, is accusing the Government of wanting to turn council tax into a second inheritance tax:

Spelman-Caroline-on-QT“This is another savage raid on the savings of the elderly – pension funds were first, then social care, and now people's homes. Under Labour plans supported by Liberal Democrats, the vulnerable risk being pressured into signing away their homes’ equity to stave off the tax man. This pay as you die tax is just an excuse to hike up council taxes even more while avoiding the sight of pensioners being sent to jail for non-payment. Gordon Brown is intent on turning council tax into a second inheritance tax, and there is nothing he won’t tax.”

Jonathan Isaby