Tories Will Scrap Inheritance Tax, Pledges Cameron; David Cameron: Initiative

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Byline: Jane Merrick

INHERITANCE tax will be scrapped if the Tories win the next election,party leaders vowed yesterday.

The bold proposal would stop the state grabbing up to 40 per cent of anindividual's wealth upon death.

As many as two million families could benefit.

Gordon Brown will be under pressure to match the move, making tax a keybattleground if a snap election is called for October.

Tory leader David Cameron is desperate to regain the initiative after threemonths of internal rows which have seen his party slip ten points behind Labourin the polls.

Senior Tory figures are hoping the eyecatching proposal to ditch an unfair andunpopular tax will bring the Prime Minister's political honeymoon to an abruptend.

Death duties of 40 per cent are payable on any assets above [pounds sterling]285,000.

In his final Budget as Chancellor in March, Mr Brown raised the threshold to[pounds sterling]350,000 by 2010 - stealing a march on Mr Cameron. But The blood pressuresoaring house prices will still leave millions of families facing massive billswhen a relative dies. Some 4.2million properties could be affected by 2020 ifnothing is done.

Scrapping inheritance tax is the highlight of former Cabinet minister JohnRedwood's economic competitiveness policy report.

The tax would be removed altogether for first homes. Second homes would not beexempt, however.

It is not yet official Conservative policy but shadow chancellor George Osbornewill 40,000 families pay inheritance tax every year pressure 'time signal theTory leadership's effective backing for the proposals by appearing alongside MrRedwood at the launch in central London today.

Details of the plan were released by Central Office last night in another signthat it has the approval of Mr Cameron.

The Redwood report will endorse the Tory leader's claim that economic stabilitymust come before tax cuts. …