UK General Election - A review of the other party policies: Reform UK, Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP

2 July 2024 | Applicable law: England and Wales | 6 minute read

Having already reviewed the policies of the Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties, it's time to turn our attention to what some of the other parties are proposing in their manifestos, or in the case of Reform UK, in their "contract" with the voters.  

Reform UK 

In lieu of a manifesto, the Reform UK party have published a "contract" between itself and voters. Among the expected policy proposals regarding immigration are a number of tax cuts which are suggested to cost nearly £90bn a year.

One of the key proposals in respect of high earners will be the proposal that inheritance tax will be abolished for all estates under £2 million, and estates above that amount will be subject to inheritance tax at a rate of 20%. Interestingly, the contract states that there will also be the option to donate to charity instead of paying the tax, presumably on the basis that the government cannot be trusted to spend "your" money properly.

Currently, if a taxpayer leaves 10% or more of their estate to a UK charity, the inheritance tax rate on their estate will be reduced from 40% to 36%.  There is also an exemption for 'heritage assets', such as historical buildings or objects with national scientific, historic or artistic interest, that are made available for viewing by the general public after death.  If agreed with HMRC, the inheritance tax on these assets will only become payable if they cease to be open to the public.

Reform UK's proposal appears to be different to both of the above existing policies and the suggestion is that instead of paying the inheritance tax due (at the new rate of 20%), the tax payment could instead be given to charity. It is not clear how this would work in practice but presumably the donation would have to be to a UK charity.  This could be attractive to high-net worth individuals who feel like a better use of their wealth would be to give it to a charity that aligns with their values.

Some of Reform UK's proposals in respect of tax are clearly aimed at lowering immigration, such as the proposal to raise the National Insurance rate to 20% for foreign workers (although essential foreign health and care workers and small businesses employing no more than 5 staff members would be exempt).

Other proposals worth noting are the proposal to increase the income tax threshold to £20,000, cut stamp duty land tax to 0% for purchases below £750,000, 2% for purchases between £750,000 to £1.5 million and 4% for properties over £1.5 million and abolish the IR35 rules.

Green Party

The Green Party manifesto focuses on the environment in most aspects of policy. From a tax perspective, this includes introducing a carbon tax on all fossil fuels produced in or imported to the UK and a windfall tax on oil and gas companies. However there are also a number of tax proposals that do not target energy companies and are of note to high net worth individuals.

The Green Party would seek to impose a wealth tax on individuals with assets worth over £10 million at a rate of 1% and individuals with assets worth over £1 billion at a rate of 2% annually. No details are given as to how this would work in practice, for example with regard to valuations or how the tax would be funded if a majority of the assets are illiquid or tied up in a business.

They would also seek to bring capital gains tax rates in line with income tax rates and bring tax rates on investment income in line with the usual income tax rates on employment income. For higher and additional rate taxpayers this would increase the tax rates on dividend income from 33.75% and 39.35% respectively to 40% and 45% respectively.

There is only a brief mention of inheritance tax, with the Green Party saying that they would 'reform' inheritance tax so that transfers of wealth between generations are taxed 'more fairly'.  The manifesto does not mention the remittance basis of taxation or non-doms.

Plaid Cymru

The manifesto of Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist political party in Wales, seeks to 'redress economic unfairness' for Wales and increase the Senedd's devolved powers.   This includes allowing the Sennedd to set income tax bands and thresholds for Welsh taxpayers, rather than these being set by Westminster, as the Scottish Government does in Scotland.   They would also bring capital gains tax in line with income tax rates.

Plaid Cymru state they would also introduce a wealth tax, although as with the Green Party, no further details are provided of how this tax would work or what the rate or threshold would be. The manifesto also includes the statement that they would 'abolish loopholes for non-doms' without providing detail of what the loophole are or how they would seek to abolish them. This may be an indication however that elected Plaid Cymru MPs would support plans set out by the Conservatives and, to a lesser extent, the Labour party to abolish the remittance basis and change the tax regime for non-domiciles entirely.

The manifesto also shows that Plaid Cymru would support Labour's proposal to charge VAT on private school fees.

With an eye on climate change as well, Plaid Cymru's manifesto states that it would introduce a windfall tax for energy companies and increase Air Passenger Duty and kerosene tax for private jets.

Scottish National Party ('SNP')

As the Scottish nationalist party, the SNP is well known for pushing for devolved powers and rights for Scottish people. In their manifesto, they seek full devolution of tax powers for Scotland including powers over income tax, National Insurance, VAT and the ability to impose windfall taxes on companies operating in Scotland.

The manifesto does not provide a huge amount of detail on how the SNP would use their devolved powers in respect of tax and inheritance tax and the taxation of non-doms is not mentioned.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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