Yes, to show that he was still stuck in the rut he created back in 2007 when Young Dave’s opponent was Pa Broon, Osborne decided that it would be A Very Good Thing Indeed to announce an inheritance tax reduction. This, he has clearly decided, would entice all those floating voters into moving back to the Tory fold, and all would then be well. One wonders if he has been on the mind-altering substances again.
“Cheers! George Osborne unveils new 'family home allowance' which means parents can give £1million to their children tax free - but owners of £2million mansions WON'T benefit” declared the Mail On Sunday, this being a typical reaction. The Sunday Express declared “Death Taxes Scrapped For Most Homes”, but the upmarket titles decided that the only way to describe this was to go for a slash.
“Inheritance tax slashed by Tories” declared the Sunday Telegraph, with the Sunday Times managing a rather similar “Tories slash inheritance tax on homes”. But the detail of how this measure would be paid for - unlike the £8 billion NHS commitment, this has actually been costed - is not easy for the Tories or their press pals: “£1billion cost paid for by curbing tax relief on pensions for high earners”.
“Curbing tax relief on pensions”? Can you smell hypocrisy? When Gordon Brown did that, he was denounced as a “pension thief”, and the move was characterised as a “raid on pensions”. Moreover, the small print does not look all that inspiring: the new “allowance” would not come in until 2017 - another case of “jam tomorrow” - and, as the MoS article concedes, over £1 million, the new measure is limited or non existent.