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Help Mrs May Keep Her Promise of a Fairer UK

Editorial - Share this and help Mrs May stop OUTRAGEOUS & UNFAIR tax avoidance like the Grosvenor family's £3billion-plus trust scheme

In her first speech as Prime Minister, Mrs May spoke about her "mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone" and said: "The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you."


Great words but actions speak louder so we're sure Mrs May and the Conservative party must be delighted at the incredible opportunity the late Duke of Westminster (a charming and generous man by all accounts) has given them to put her words into action.


In case you haven't heard the 6th Duke of Westminster, Major General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, KG, CB, CVO, OBE, TD, CD, DL, died recently. Any grief you may have felt at the passing of the third richest person in the United Kingdom (his estimated worth was over £9 billion pounds) may have been tempered at the prospect of the windfall our government's treasury would receive from the 40% inheritance tax on his estate: 40% of £9 billion is £3.6 billion, enough to cover the NHS's deficit with more than a billion to spare for other good causes. Of course, far more of the super rich get that way through inheritance, rather than hard work, than they'd care to admit, and it seems the new, 7th Duke of Westminster, will be inheriting the bulk of his father's money due to perfectly legal shenanigans which enable the family to avoid paying ANY inheritance.


Yes, that's right. There's NO inheritance tax on the late Duke's estate because it's held in trust.


It really seems to be one rule for the super rich and another for the rest of us.


Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has proposed a new 'Duke of Westminster Tax' proposed to 'prevent wealthy aristocrats passing on their fortunes tax-free, saying "It is understandable that parents who have worked hard all their life want to leave something to their children. It is very different when big estates pass billions of unearned income down the generations. The late Duke of Westminster was honest enough to admit that the secret of his business success was having an ancestor who had been good friends with William the Conqueror.”


We're sure members of our new government are at this very moment drafting an announcement about this to put Mrs May's words into action - perhaps a land tax, which is hard if not impossible to avoid, or perhaps just a stronger general tax avoidance, as Mr Farron suggests. We called Downing Street's press office today to find what, if any plans, they have to right this wrong and a helpful woman there referred us to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, with a warning that HMRC does not comment on individual cases. You can see our tweet to them here. In the meantime and beyond please share this article to Mrs May and her government to account and help Mrs May create the better Britain she promised, and sign my petition on the parliamentary website.


Thank you!


Matthew Wherry




PS: If you have a spare few moments, David Mitchell's latest (at time of publication) column - "Who the Duke of Westminster cares about … in descending order" - is, as usual, both interesting and amusing. We recommend it.


Photo credit: Gerald Cavendish in 1997 by Allen Warren, cc Wikimedia Commons

Matthew Wherry

About the Writer

Matthew is Impolite Conversation's editor.


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