Yesterday Rory defended farms and estates in Penrith and the Border, fighting against a new inheritance tax.

Rory had been appointed as a member of the Public Finance Committee, in charge of a detailed scrutiny of this year’s budget. He used his position to object to new proposals on estate tax, which he described as “highly damaging to the economy of Penrith and the Border and other rural areas.” The Minister responded to the speech by agreeing to review the policy and introduce a number of amendments in the next stage of the bill.

Rory said: “This issue matters because across the country an enormous amount of the investment made by estates and by farms is made by borrowing against existing houses; this is the key to enabling a vigorous rural economy. Unfortunately, the new policy, could result in a situation in which, understandably, estate owners and farmers chose either to retain their houses and not invest or sell their assets to make an investment which could cause other problems. That is why I am pushing for further consultation and amendments to the policy.”

Rory’s speech focused on the new section 162A and 162B of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 which he argues would disincentivise people from borrowing on their house and their estates to make business investments, because under this new clause this investment would become a tax liability.

Following Rory comments during the sitting of the Finance Bill Committee, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury  praised Rory’s detailed focus on the interests of Penrith and the Border and agreed to table amendments to the legislation to address the issues.

Rory said, “It is a great privilege to serve on the committee and be able to look at the details of the budget. Overall I think the budget does good things for rural businesses, motorists and community pubs. I am delighted though that I was able to catch this small piece of legislation and have it amended because it would have had a serious impact on local investment.”


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