OK, maybe it\’s only two people who don\’t like it:
Gordon Brown, a happily married man himself, is responsible for the inheritance tax which, at 40% after the limit of £300,000 has been passed, affects all those whose houses have enjoyed a huge rise in value in the past decade.
It\’s a new phenomenon that a levy designed for the very rich now squeezes an incalculable number of people.
A large proportion of those victims of the British government\’s policy, taxpayers and homeowners, are senior citizens who took advantage of the new permissive atmosphere of the 1960s and settled down together to enjoy life without the trouble and strife – only to find that an unpleasant no-nup lies in store for their heirs if they decide not to wed.
When we went for our first interview at Chelsea town hall, we didn\’t know that the UK is alone in insisting that this punitive tax can only be avoided if two partners marry – unless, as it happens, they happen to be of the same sex, in which case they are able to demand a civil partnership ceremony that declares them as good as man and wife and thus immune to the tax.
It\’s heterosexuals who are forced to surrender their freedom in order to save their children the necessity of paying the tax at their death.
If even stalwart Labour supporters like Emma Tennant dislike the tax enough to marry to avoid it, what then with the idea that people think that it\’s fair?
It\’s not so much that it is or is not fair: perceptions matter more in politics than reality does. But if people do think this way, that it isn\’t fair (and I wager that many indeed do) then those insisting upon the fairness of it find themselves pretty much out on a limb.