In today’s Times Rachel Sylvester reports that Philip Hammond is “raising the spectre of death taxes” to pay for social care. New death tax proposals on the table are said to include a compulsory social care levy on estates over a certain value. Sylvester says “the Tory taboo of taking money from someone after their death, along with the assumption that hard-working people should be able to hand their wealth down to their children, has been broken”. That is quite a shift from the famous Tory posters about Gordon Brown’s death tax.
When Labour proposed a levy to pay for social care in 2010 – a very similar policy to the one now reportedly being considered by the Treasury – the then Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond warned:
“The revelation that grieving families could be forced to stump up for a massive £4.5 billion a year death tax shows what a terrible solution this is to the problem of long term care. Labour should rule out a compulsory levy now so that we can get on with finding the right solutions for helping elderly people across the country.”
He also blasted Labour’s proposal as “shocking“:
“The more we see of Labour’s death tax plans, the more shocking they will appear to people.
And he condemned Labour for taking money from those with savings when they die:
“When you die, a Labour Government would take £20,000 from what you leave to your children and family.”
Seven years later, could Hammond really be considering this for next week’s Budget?