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Labour Must Oppose Osborne's Inheritance Tax Cut

14/07/2015 09:27 BST | Updated 13/07/2016 10:59 BST

Let's start with a quiz. Which part of George Osborne's budget last week did The Economist describe as "perhaps the daftest economic policy of the decade"?

Could it be Osborne's con-trick on the living wage, which in reality is no such thing, or his claim that Britain is getting a pay rise, when low paid families and public sector workers are in fact getting a pay cut? You might have expected greater cynicism from media commentators about the Chancellor's apparent conversion to the cause of tackling low pay. But it's not that.

Perhaps it was Osborne's confession that he has failed once again to keep his promises on the deficit, and will take one whole extra year to close the gap in our finances, despite all his rhetoric?

No. The answer is neither of the above.

It's Osborne's sop to the all-ready lucky inheritors of property. His inheritance tax cut, which will benefit fewer than one in 1000 families a year, but costs nearly £1billion of tax-payers' cash by 2021.

As The Economist puts it, this announcement in the budget was the point at which "things took a turn for the barmy".

You couldn't make it up. A Chancellor who is happy to see those with the least income lose most, yet with the same stroke of his pen, gives those who are already fortunate in life another bung.

You wonder why, during these straightened times, this could possibly be a priority.

I believe in taking the hard choices to put our country on the right path. Dealing with the deficit will keep our country strong. That means having the confidence not just to oppose Tory plans, but to find a better way to a balanced budget.

That's why I've asked Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, to lead a review for me of tax reliefs. Some of these £100billion worth of reliefs are worth having, but others need scrutiny, and I'm prepared to find changes that deal with the fiscal gap.

But I also believe that Britain will be on the right path when we truly give each child the best start in life, no matter what their background. Your chances shouldn't be determined by your parent's wealth or postcode. It's as simple as that.

And this inheritance tax cut is wrong, not just because we can't afford it, but also because it does absolutely nothing to give those children least likely to succeed a fair crack of the whip. The Labour party I will lead would never support such a decision, and I'm calling on Labour to table relevant amendments to the finance bill to make this clear.

Even the IFS said that it's hard to see the economic or social question that is answered by this tax cut for the wealthiest 10% of estates. They are right. Osborne is wrong.

Labour's job is to build a country in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few. We lost an election, not our soul.

Let's tell the country about a better vision of what we can be, and oppose Osborne's tax cut for the few, at the serious expense of the many.

Liz Kendall is Labour MP for Leicester West, and shadow minister for care and older people