Inheritance Tax

After nearly a week away in Blackpool at the Conservative Party Conference, I've called back at the Commons to catch up with work, and I'm about to leave for a public meeting in Storrington on the plans to downgrade our local hospitals. I'm really looking forward to being back home and in the constituency.

At the Conference I spoke about phoney public consultations and the need to return real power to people and communities. Two days later, the Government published an interim report on the NHS saying that any major change in the pattern of local hospital services should be "clinically led and locally accountable."

I'd like to know what this means. So far as I can see, the Primary Care Trust isn't remotely accountable to local communities.

I was delighted with the policy proposals announced at our conference, but I'd like to single out two.

It's so hard for young people to get their foot on the housing ladder locally. Abolishing Stamp Duty for first-time buyers for purchases of up to £250,000 will help - 9 out of 10 first-time buyers will pay no Stamp Duty at all.

Many local people also write to me about the impact of inheritance tax. One 75 year old lady recently told me of her distress that, having worked hard and paid taxes all her life, her grandchildren would face an inheritance tax liability.  A tax that was designed for the rich now hits ordinary people. 

So I think it's terrific that we will raise the Inheritance Tax Threshold to £1 million, so that only millionaires pay inheritance tax. For 98 per cent of families, this will take the family home out of inheritance tax altogether. 

Now we are all waiting to see if Gordon Brown will call an election. I hope he does - I can't wait for the fight.

Michelle Taylor