Conservative Diary

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Neil O'Brien: It's time to ditch the inheritance tax pledge

It may have been Parliament's blackest day but one or two other things also happened yesterday.

For example, Britain borrowed £19.9bn last month.  As Allister Heath writes in this morning's City AM: "The monthly deficit total is now close to what we used to get for a whole year."

Tax revenues are collapsing.  Britain is on the edge.  Drastic reductions are going to be needed in public spending.

Obrienneil In today's Telegraph Neil O'Brien of the Policy Exchange think tank argues that "dropping the inheritance tax cut will earn the Tories the right to tell the public the terrible truth about the debt disaster."  He continues (I've juggled up the ordering of his piece a bit):

"Labour is refusing to face up to the scale of the problem it is busy creating. The Tories, therefore, need to take a long, hard look at their plans: some, such as extra spending on education for deprived kids, or the "right to move" for council house tenants, can be kept, because they are funded out of savings elsewhere. But they should sacrifice something to convince the voters just how bad things are... Dropping such a high profile policy would have shock value. It would send the vital message that the country is going bust. That would allow the Conservatives more room to level with the public about the truly horrific situation they will inherit."

Tim Montgomerie

> Earlier this week, on CentreRight, Policy Exchange's Andrew Lilico noted that the inheritance tax pledge had become much less costly because of the fall in house prices.

11.30am: Neil O'Brien writes for Coffee House on how Labour's Liam Byrne has misrepresented his Telegraph piece.

6pm: Mark Wallace on CentreRight argues that it would be wrong for the Conservatives to scrap the IHT pledges


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