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Reality bites on Asp figures

Do those allegedly intelligent people in the Government understand what they are talking about?

As a result of pension simplification (remember, this was the Government in action) we have the alternatively secured pension.

In the discussion phases of pension simplification, this was “wealth cascading down the generations”. Then those clever people at the Revenue noticed what their colleagues were doing and wanted a slice of the cake and we have ended up with an inheritance tax deduction before the net proceeds can cascade down the generations. But our new Chancellor in waiting Ed Balls says Asps are now only available if you are a member of the Plymouth Brethren.

This is because he does not like Asps and the use of the Asp is deemed to be IHT avoidance. But Plymouth Brethren are so influential that he believes they alone should be allowed to use the Asp that his Government created.

I was never very good at maths but perhaps someone should ask the Treasury whether they would like 100 per cent of nothing, which is what they will get on death of the annuitant if everyone is forced back down the annuity route or 40 per cent of something from an Asp.

Since this is exactly what they would have got if the money had remained within the estate (and more than if it had gone into the pension followed by an annuity), can someone tell me how this is IHT avoidance.

Alastair Lyon
Woking, Surrey


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