A Tale of Two Cities

Just got round to reading this week’s Sunday Times piece about Bristol. It’s not an entirely unrecognisable picture of the city, but it’s pretty obvious that the reporter didn’t set foot in Bristol East. (Also, why is it in the Women’s section of the paper? This is one of my pet hates, labelling things as “women’s” just because they’re lifestyle pieces.)

I did a regional political show last week, and had trouble persuading the Tory MP on the panel that virtually no-one in my constituency would benefit from his party’s inheritance tax plans, i.e. that there were very few houses worth more than £325,000 and certainly none approaching the £2million mark, which is the Tories’ upper limit, below which a household will not be subject to IHT. He insisted I’d find there were ‘quite a few who would’ (which still begs the question, why is this a flagship policy for the Tories, their top priority for tax cuts, when on any reckoning it’s only a few who would benefit?)

I can think of a handful of big houses, for example out Stapleton way, which might be above the £500,000 mark. But with the average house price in Bristol as a whole only at £163,000 and even detached houses at an average of £305,000, and that obviously includes all those huge houses in Clifton pushing the average up, I can’t see that the Tories’ tax plans are going to do anything at all for the people I represent. If anyone can come up with more specific stats for east Bristol, I’d be keen to see them.

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