Demos verdict on record-breaking inheritance levels: Political will must match public opinion

Responding to this week’s HMRC inheritance figures for 2020/21, Dan Goss, researcher at the cross-party think tank Demos, said:


“With £110 billion passed on in a single year – the highest figure ever on record – inheritance is a huge force in our economy, but at the moment our tax system barely touches this enormous wealth transfer.


“Less than one in 25 deaths result in any inheritance tax, because it generally only applies to the most valuable estates. As the new figures show, 85% of inheritances worth £300,000 to £1 million aren’t taxed at all.


“Demos’ research shows that this growing flow of wealth will cause huge inequalities in opportunity – decided mainly by whether or not you were born with wealthy parents. While public services are strained and taxes on incomes are at historic highs, asking high-value estates to contribute more tax could help ease the pressure. We know there is public support for this, with our polling showing that most people support lower inheritance tax thresholds. All we need is the political will to match.”