The Daily Telegraph

Inheritanc­e levy is not a Labour priority


RACHEL REEVES has refused to say whether a Labour government would reverse any inheritanc­e tax cuts introduced in the Autumn Statement this week.

Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, is said to be considerin­g cuts to inheritanc­e tax as part of a pre-election strategy to reduce the tax burden and boost growth.

However, Ms Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said on Sunday that cutting the tax was “not the right thing to do” now, but added that she was not going to make any manifesto commitment­s ahead of an election.

“I will set out all of our plans that will be fully costed and fully funded in our manifesto,” she told BBC’S Sunday with

Laura Kuenssberg. “I don’t want to write the manifesto here on your programme. I don’t think I can be any clearer. This would not be a priority for me.”

She added: “Cutting inheritanc­e tax in the middle of a massive cost of living crisis and when public services are on their knees is not the right priority.

“I understand people’s desire to pass onto their children what they have worked hard for, but right now that is not the right thing to do and we would not support it.”

Rishi Sunak is said to be reconsider­ing announcing the tax cut amid concerns over a backlash from “Red Wall” Tory MPS if he uses his fiscal windfall of £20 billion to deliver cuts for the rich, rather than ordinary families.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimated that four fifths of any inheritanc­e tax cut would benefit those with more than £1million upon their death. Each person with more than £1 million would receive an average tax cut of £180,000.

It has raised speculatio­n that Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt could delay any inheritanc­e tax cut until next year’s Budget. Instead, they are said to be considerin­g income tax cuts through raising the thresholds at which families pay higher rates, and reforms to National Insurance.

Ms Reeves also refused to say whether she would reverse the Conservati­ve Government’s plans to cut wider benefits of those who refuse to engage with their job centre or take on work offered to them. The plans could see those sanctioned denied access not just to welfare payments, but also associated benefits such as free prescripti­ons or help with energy bills.

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