On 21st March 2019 Lord Lexden asked the Government “what plans they have to extend fiscal and legal protection to close family members, particularly siblings, who live together long-term in jointly owned property.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, over the years, speakers from these Benches have completely supported the thrust behind the Question from the noble Lord, Lord Lexden. It is not only a matter for the Treasury and tax, but a matter of justice. If another party gets into power, perhaps the inheritance tax thresholds might even come down in due course—who knows? This does not seem a strong argument for denying an obvious need for justice in these cases.
Lord Bates: On the point of justice, that was tested, rightly, in the courts. The Burden sisters took their case to the European Court of Human Rights in 2008, and it did not find that there was discrimination against them in contrast to married couples when it came to inheritance tax. That was a clear decision. It is open to anybody else to challenge it through the courts, but our position is clear.