Alistair Darling

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Civil servants to help in deadlock

Civil servants will for the first time help Britain's political parties to stitch together a post-election agreement if the general election results in a hung parliament.

Inheritance tax would be 'all but abolished'

Conservative plans to slash inheritance tax would effectively abolish the tax "for practical purposes", shows research by the leading accountants, Grant Thornton, for The Independent. In the proposals by the shadow chancellor George Osborne, unveiled in 2007, the threshold would be raised from the present £325,000 to £1m.