The Campaign for Universal Inheritance

Welcome to the website of the Campaign for Universal Inheritance.

Universal Inheritance is the idea that in a liberal capitalist democracy every young national-born citizen should receive a basic minimum inheritance of capital at a financially responsible age. Universal Inheritance as well as Universal Suffrage. Capital for all as well as votes for all.

A new liberal political ideology of Popular Capitalism is waiting to replace the widely but unconsciously held conservative political ideology of unlimited Dynastic Capitalism. It will bring about greater financial equality of opportunity and so the wider spread of wealth, higher education, enterprise and home ownership in each new generation.

British Universal Inheritance would initially be a basic minimum inheritance of £10,000 (less than 10 pc of average wealth of every adult and child in the UK ) for all young adult British born UK citizens on reaching the age of 25.

Banks will be able to lend to those over 18 against the certain receipt of £10,000 at the age of 25. Government will be able to subsidize interest rates on such loans for approved purposes such as business start up, education and home ownership.

British Universal Inheritance will be financed by a reformed Inheritance Tax (IHT) on giving and bequeathing capital in tandem with and deductible from a new tax on receiving unearned capital gifts and bequests.

The present 40 pc so-called Inheritance Tax is seriously unfair because of all its vast and unlimited exemptions for the wealthy. It would be transformed into a flat 10 pc Value Given Tax (VGT) on the luxury expenditure of inter-generational capital giving and bequeathing (less than 17.5 pc VAT on ordinary expenditure!). Current annual and gift-out-of-income exemptions would continue. All other exemptions for inter-generational lifetime capital gifts and agricultural, business and shareholding asset-linked exemptions would be abolished.

Intra-generational transfers between partners, spouses and cohabiting siblings would not be taxed.

In tandem with the 10 pc VGT (reformed IHT) a new progressive cumulative unearned Capital Receipts Tax (CRT) would be introduced on lifetime receipts of all unearned gifted and inherited capital, starting with a broad 10 pc band.

For beneficiaries of modest lifetime unearned capital receipts falling within the 10 pc band, any tax will already have been paid by donors. Those who receive large fortunes during their lifetime, above the 10 pc band, will pay tax at progressive rates so that all other British-born young adult UK citizens will receive a basic minimum inheritance, which will itself be clawed back by any higher rates of the progressive CRT later in life.

British Universal Inheritance will:

- reduce alienation, financial and social exclusion, poverty and inequality of opportunity in each new generation

- increase education, entrepreneurial activity, home ownership, genuinely greater financial opportunity for all and the wider spread of the private ownership of wealth in each new generation

- as part of an Asset Welfare State, reduce the need for and therefore the cost of the Income Welfare State safety net in each new generation.

- be introduced gradually, at £1,000 for 25 year olds in the first year up to £10,000 for 25 year olds in the tenth and subsequent years, so that no year group misses out by more than £1,000 vis a vis the next during the introductory period.


Politically, most of those under 25 will benefit. Parents and grandparents will be pleased to see young adult children and grandchildren being given a capital start in life at the responsible age of 25, that many would have difficulty in providing themselves. Once British Universal Inheritance has been introduced with the above parameters, the amounts and rates will of course be the subject of further political debate. Elitist conservative or paternalistic socialist minds will argue for less than £10,000. Egalitarian, liberal democratic, meritocratic and progressive conservative minds will argue for more. A minority of young adults will of course continue to receive vastly more than £10,000 from trusts and family generosity.

Once introduced in the UK , we will then be in a position to encourage other countries, in particular those in receipt of international aid, to adopt their own National Universal Inheritance schemes.


The Campaign for Universal Inheritance was founded in 1996. British Universal Inheritance was adopted as party policy of the EU-sceptic / EU- reform-or-else-withdraw Liberal Party at the 120th Annual Liberal Party Assembly in 2005. Not, however, by the EU-fanatic Liberal Democrats, whose idea of redistribution of wealth is a reduction of income tax!

British Universal Inheritance is a big meritocratic idea, comparable with the Thatcherite sale of council houses, only a great deal fairer. Which UK political party will be next to adopt it as policy?

There is an article on British Universal Inheritance in the Vol 13 No 4 2005 issue of Renewal - The Journal of Labour politics.  See 'Archive' on the website  The Conservative Party has pledged in the past, as reported in The Daily Telegraph, that 'we will redistribute wealth' and 'empower people'. How else, other than with British Universal Inheritance, do they propose to do this?

Dane Clouston MA(Oxon) ACIB

Director, OPPORTUNITY - The Campaign for British Universal Inheritance

Director, The Campaign for Universal Inheritance


Director, OPPORTUNITY - The Campaign for British Universal Inheritance
Director, The Campaign for Universal Inheritance
PO Box 1148 Oxford OX44 7AT