It was reported in many of the papers today that the leaders of all three main political parties have agreed to sign up to Roland Rudd’s “Legacy 10” campaign. This means that they have each pledged to leave 10% of their will to charity. The Legacy 10 initiative is closely linked to a new tax incentive due to come in in April, whereby anyone leaving 10% or more of their net estate to charity can benefit from a reduced rate of inheritance tax (36% rather than 40%), although the campaign is supposed to be broad enough to encompass even those who will be unaffected by the new measure.
Leaving aside specific concerns about the new tax break (namely that it will only apply to a small number of estates, and it doesn’t seem to act as incentive for those who weren’t already intending to leave a charitable bequest), there is a definite positive aspect to this story. The fact that three senior political figures- who spend much of their time at each others’ throats- have put their differences to one side and presented a united front in favour of a charitable giving initiative is an interesting and potentially powerful precedent. There is a lot of talk in policy circles about the importance of role models and social norms, and of the government showing leadership, so it is good to see some practical action that fleshes out this talk.