A New Death Tax
The Mail reported a story yesterday concerning Ministry of Justice plans to raise the cost of Probate - the legal authority to manage someone's estate on death - from £215 to £6,000 from April next.
We should regard this as good news! Last year the Government attempted to hike this fee to £20,000 but the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments argued the cost should represent the value of the service, rather than as a route to raising money.
The MoJ has "listened carefully" apparently to feedback and chosen to hike the cost to only £6,000.
The Government has failed spectacularly to recognise the key point that for grieving families already facing the spectre of inheritance tax [at 40% on any assets over £325,000] they now have a further, pernicious cost.
Further evidence, if it were needed, that our centralised system works at our expense. Chancellor Hammond, if he'd the courage to announce this on Budget Day, would probably have referred to the measure as another "little extra".
So relieved we are all in this together.