TREASURY – INHERITANCE TAX – 18 October 2007

Dr Julian Lewis: Would the Chancellor like to uncross his fingers, look you, Mr Speaker, straight in the eye and assert that the Government would have made their inheritance tax announcement if the Conservative Opposition had not made their promise to raise the threshold to £1 million?

[The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Alistair Darling): Yes, I would. It is right to recognise that, in this day and age, most husbands and wives contribute to the family assets. If a husband who has not used up his allowances dies, his wife should be able to inherit them. The key difference between us and the Conservative party is that we can make those tax reductions because we can afford to. The Conservatives have now made tax promises worth more than £6 billion, yet they have no idea how they will be able to finance them.]