Voters in the parliamentary seat of one of Labour’s most prominent left-wing MPs are least supportive of inheritance tax, a new study has revealed.
The west London seat of Hayes and Harlington held by Labour MP John McDonnell, who was shadow chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn, was identified as the most anti-wealth tax constituency in the UK.
Only a third of Labour supporters think inheritance tax – which is levied on estates at 40pc on assets over £325,000 – is fair, according to a survey of almost 3,500 voters carried out in October of last year. By comparison two thirds thought income tax and National Insurance were fair, suggesting respondents preferred to be taxed on income rather than by wealth.
It’s entirely true – in theory at least – that inheritance tax should be swingeing. Why should people gain a chunk of cash just because of who their parents were? Meritocracy militates against the very idea.
Except, well, there are a lot of things that might be true in theory. The labour theory of value for example. It’s certainly constructable – it is the transformation achieved by human labour which produces value, therefore that labour should gain that value. But this fails because humans don’t value things in that manner. A human looks at something and decides whether it is of value to them, in those circumstances. The same individual will value the same things differently at different times. Different humans will value the same things differently at the same time. Value is subjective from the consumer that is. It’s simply not something that correlates with the labour input.
So too with inheritance tax. Sure, we can construct theories where it’s the fairest of them all. But actual humans really, really, hate it. As with LVT it’s just not a useful construct when dealing with our own species.