Committee (1st Day)

Part of Cohabitation Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 30th April 2009.

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Photo of Baroness Deech Baroness Deech Crossbench 6:00 pm, 30th April 2009

I completely share the concerns of the noble Baroness. Later we shall come to an amendment in which I propose a discretion for the court to allow for a roll over or deferral of inheritance tax—simply a discretion. I do not for a moment suggest that we should create a loophole whereby any two family members can use this to avoid inheritance tax. The Committee will know of the much debated and much discussed case of the Burden sisters. That is the one situation which I have in mind. I also cannot see the logic of knocking out prohibited degrees of relationships at this stage. We are not talking about people forming a sexual relationship; we are simply talking about a situation in which two, possibly elderly, members of one family live together. They alone will be excluded from the benefits now given to divorcing couples and civil partners.