Monday, May 07, 2007

Charity begins at home

TMP believes that many problems that have become intractable in the hands of traditional party politics have very simple common sense solutions for those who are prepared to dump the dogma and allow the people to decide how to spend their own money.

Perhaps the biggest "stealth challenge" now facing the UK is how to fix Gordon Brown's witless destruction of the pensions system without consideration of the consequences, and deal with the allied challenges of the growing need for social care solutions for the elderly. And the fact that social care is a function of local council budgets (now almost entirely Conservative controlled) should bother anyone that has observed the way the Labour government has been far too willing to gerrymander with the public purse across the country with regard to its own political interests.

The debate about the fairness of inheritance tax (IHT) tends to quickly align with the old class war arguments about the rich "getting away with it", whereas precious few estates where a freehold property is involved escape the £285k threshold. However, this has now become a major stealth tax during Gordon Brown's fiscal control, and we all know how keen politicians of any hue are when it comes to repealing any sort of tax, if they believe their opponents have already taken the PR hit.

Moreover, an enormous amount of skilled effort and energy goes into estate planning to try and mitigate this unseemly process of what we can only describe as state-sanctioned grave robbery.

So the TMP's simple solution is that any amount of an estate can be passed to the children and grandchildren of the deceased in the form of a pension and care fund for those children payable from age 55. This has several consequences apart from the obvious one of creating a massive care fund administered by the people who really care, it means that the money will generally be intelligently invested in a born-again pensions industry for the greater good.

God willing, that money will also remain out of political reach for all time. In fact, the rules of the scheme should make it plain that no party of any hue would ever be able to access the fund under any circumstances whatever. Not even to fund the gap in the 2012 Olympics budget.

With the NHS spending £80bn a year (it was £30bn in 1997), Defence running at £30bn a year, Education £60bn (yes, we are always shocked when we consider the value for money that figure represents) is there a sentient being left out there that could seriously argue the fundamental principle that we simply cannot trust politicians to spend our money wisely?

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