Letter: Tax bequest

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The Independent Online
WE ARE told that we must cut the budget deficit. Some tell us we must raise taxes. Others tell us that raising taxes will stifle the fragile recovery. Yet there is a comparatively painless way in which Kenneth Clarke could raise taxes without jeopardising the recovery.

Since the date of a person's death is unpredictable, inheritance is unlikely to be a part of anyone's immediate spending plans. An increase in death duties/capital transfer tax/inheritance tax could therefore be used to raise substantial revenues without affecting the recovery. Such an increase would be entirely compatible with John Major's professed aim of a classless society.

Whatever the morality or otherwise of inequalities in earned income, there can be no economic or moral justification for large inequalities in inherited wealth. The management of wealth, and the power it confers, should be in the hands of those who have already shown that they can use it responsibly. They are not those who have merely inherited wealth.

Michael Boon

Farnham, Surrey

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