There has been much confusion about the number of people that will benefit from the Inheritance Tax changes announced today by Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne. There are big differences, explained by the fact that some statistics talk about households, others about householders.
Well, this is the way I see it.
The householders don't benefit - they're dead.
It is the families left behind that benefit, and there are a lot more of those than you might imagine.
When my dear old Mum and Dad pass away - which in the case of my Father is particularly unlikely as his Mum is 91 and going strong, and his Aunty was 100 before she died and he has the constitution of a concrete elephant - then the three sons will all share the benefit of this policy.
But we are not "one family". Now we've grown up and moved away, we are three families. Chris has his family, Michael has his and I have mine. Hence from the single property three families will benefit. Three different households in three different areas will benefit. Hence the total number of families that will benefit will be larger than householders who pass away.
Similarly there will be more people benefiting as well. It isn't just the three sons - there will be three partners, currently 3 grandchildren (maybe more) and maybe by then even their partners. At the moment 8 people will benefit from this policy in my circumstances alone and that is bound to rise. The thought that I would benefit financially but my children wouldn't is just silly. Hence from each deceased householder comes far more people benefitting.
And finally the question of how many houses are included. My house in the centre of Norwich, a 3 bed semi, is likely to be worth around 250k which will undoubtably put Louise and I into the current IHT threshold for our kids to pay the tax. Are we rich? A teacher married to a part time teacher? Hardly, and house prices are reasonably low in Norwich. This policy from the Tories will be felt far and wide in the country.
This policy is a masterstroke beyond what I imagined and even what I thought we were capable of. You only have to look at the totaly panic from Labour to know this.