Express & Star

It would be 'nonsense' for Chancellor to cut inheritance tax - West Midlands mayor

The Tory mayor for the West Midlands said it would be 'nonsense' if the Chancellor were to prioritise cutting inheritance tax in his forthcoming budget.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street was guest speaker at the Richardson round table event in Oldbury

There has been mounting speculation in recent weeks that Jeremy Hunt may cut or even abolish inheritance tax when he sets out his tax and spending plans on March 6.

But Andy Street told Black Country business leaders that it would be a big mistake for the Chancellor to focus on something that would deliver little benefit to the wider economy.

Addressing a business lunch at the Oldbury-based Richardson group, Mr Street said it was likely that Mr Hunt's focus would be on reducing the burden of personal taxation.

"I think he did the right thing in the autumn statement, where he used the room he had for manoeuvre for the business community," he said.

But he said the attention was likely to switch to personal taxation and easing the burden on household finances in the March statement.

"I think this time he will want to concentrate on individual taxes, which are still squeezing people," he said.

"Investment is important, but of course, businesses don't have votes, I am sure this [personal taxation] is the area he will want to focus, he will be looking at what will have the most impact on people's household finances, how well off they are.

"It will be about either raising tax allowances, so that people on low incomes pay less tax, or he might go for a headline-grabbing cut in the rate of income tax.

"All this talk about cutting inheritance tax is total nonsense, that won't drive spending in the economy one bit, and it would look as though the Tory government was just looking after three per cent of the population."