Liberty has come to be defined as “I should be free to do what I want”. Economic liberals believe people with wealth should be able to amass unlimited wealth, employ people exploitatively, freely pollute the world – and that any attempt to tax, regulate or otherwise deter damaging consequences is an oppressive attack on freedom.

But it isn’t liberty they’re defending, it’s privilege.

This weekend it was reported that Rishi Sunak’s floundering Conservative government was considering abolishing inheritance tax.

Currently inheritance tax is only paid by five per cent of estates, due to generous thresholds that mean anything passed on below a certain level (£325,000 for individuals, £650,000 for couples and can reach up to £1m in cases that involve property) is subject to no taxation at all. Inheritance tax currently brings in £7bn in revenues, but arguably as importantly it also acts as a small constraint on the growing chasm of wealth inequality.

The richest 10 per cent of households hold 43 per cent of all private wealth in the UK. According to analysis by Ben Tippet and Rafael Wildaur at the University of Greenwich, the poorest half of families in Britain (that’s 33.5 million people) have the same wealth as the richest 50 families.

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