Death Duties

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th January 1972.

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Photo of Mr Maurice Macmillan Mr Maurice Macmillan , Farnham 12:00 am, 25th January 1972

I think that the balance of evidence is to the contrary. The discrepancy to which the hon. Gentleman referred is due largely to three reasons: first, the introduction, in the two years in question, of capital gains tax, which reduced the larger estates and, therefore, the average rate of duty; secondly, the spread of wealth to the younger age groups, where deaths are obviously less frequent so that fewer estates pass annually; and, thirdly, the disproportionate increase among estates in the lower and middle range where the rates of duty are lower than average. These three elements go to show the reverse of the deduction which the hon. Gentleman was making from the evidence.