EXCL Labour demands Conservatives rule out return of 'death tax' if they win election

Posted On: 
21st April 2017

Labour has called on the Tories to give a "cast-iron guarantee" that they will not resurrect plans for a massive rise in fees payable after death if they win the general election.

Critics have dubbed the rise in probate fees a 'death tax'.
Credit: 
PA Images

Ministers have ditched the proposed hike in probate charges - dubbed a "death tax" by critics - claiming there is not enough time to push them through before voters go to the polls on 8 June.

But they have refused to say whether the controversial plans will return if Theresa May is re-elected to Downing Street.

Fresh U-turn as Government ditches 'death tax' ahead of election

Lord Beecham: Dalliance with 'death tax'

The Government collects probate fees when someone dies and the executor of their estates organises their assets before distribution to those listed in a will.

Under the proposed changes, estates under £50,000 would be exempt, but fees on every other estate would rise from a flat fee of £195 to as much as £20,000 on larger estates.

Critics said the proposals would raise around £300m - far more than the £45m cost of administering the service.

Labour peers have been leading the fight against the changes, along with Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Shadow Justice Minister Lord Beecham told PoliticsHome: "I welcome that Liz Truss and the MoJ are not immediately proceeding with their dalliance with a covert death tax.

"But the Conservative Party should now give a cast-iron guarantee to the public that it's not going to revive this back door - and unlawful - method of raising taxes, if in a position to after the general election."

Ministry of Justice sources said a decision on whether to go ahead with the rise in probate fees would be a matter for the next government.