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Should the government help incentivise marriage?

11:07 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The government should help incentivise marriage through state financial support. That's the message from the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Do you agree?

In a speech, Mr Duncan Smith has outlined why he thinks married couples should get tax breaks and why it's the government's job to encourage people to get married.

The Liberal Democrats oppose the Conservative plans, with leader Nick Clegg calling tax breaks for married couples "patronising drivel that belongs in the Edwardian age".

Do you aspire to marry? What is stopping you from getting married? Is it time to make marriage a priority again? Or is marriage a thing of the past?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

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Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    I am married, but I do not agree the gov't should be promoting marriage, that is not their job.

  • Comment number 2.

    By all means give married couples state financial support. After the legislation is passed I will then sue the British Government for equal rights

  • Comment number 3.

    Normally I would say as it promotes a stable family, however with divorce settlements favouring the partner my view has changed.

    Marriage is financial suicide for any man/woman who has achieved anything before that marriage.

    Forget love,

    The divorce lawyers would just love to get their hands on your money as marriage followed by divorce is stastically, highly likely and the solictors will bleed you dry.

    Even cohabiting isnt safe, put your money in trust, this will keep the vultures at bay and then get married.



  • Comment number 4.

    no, marriage is a personal choice and should not be a financial convenience. I am married, but would argue wholeheartedly that those persons living together (heterosexual or homosexual) should be subject to the same rights and conditions as those who have a marriage certificate. Indeed as it is often more expensive to be single (only one salary paying mortgage bills, food etc) perhaps they should be cutting some breaks for people in that situation.

  • Comment number 5.

    Perhaps training on forming a stable relationship (which in the past would have led to marriage) would be more appropriate in terms of financial stability for both parties, stability all round for their children. Not rushing in so much and having children before you know that the person with whom you are having them is really the partner you would want or the parent you would want for your child.

    How you do that, I have no idea, as I have no idea myself as to why people do these things.....

  • Comment number 6.

    Ah: yet more crazy talk! Just what happened to "There is no money"? t least IDS said that there "should be" financial incentives and not that ther "will be". Perhaps their should be fewer libraries too? And how about some financial incentives to stop the lower classes breeding quite so much (or whatever it was that old Tory bloke said)?

  • Comment number 7.

    I seem to remember that Dave was promising some reinstatement of the married mans tax allowance before the election, but like most if not all of his promises it seems to have been forgotten.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Should the government help incentivise marriage?"

    With what? Nectar points?

  • Comment number 9.

    No aspiration to marry - it is clearly not necessary in todays world - and I don't want to squander £20k on one day.

  • Comment number 10.

    2. At 12:47pm on 08 Feb 2011, Bob wrote:
    By all means give married couples state financial support. After the legislation is passed I will then sue the British Government for equal rights
    *************
    I'll join you!

  • Comment number 11.

    I think the government would be getting itself into some really dodgy ground if it introduced benefit changes which effectively paid people to get married. Not only would there be a potential crossover between state and church (which are supposed to remain separate), but it could end up with an increasing divorce rate in future years. People would consider marriage on financial terms, not on relationship terms. "We only got married because it was the only way we could get enough money to buy a house."

    If the government wants to reinforce family values, it should clamp down hard on single females who think that producing babies is a good way to get "bargaining chips" to use against local authorities, and forcing those authorities to give them a house. This widespread practice is the worst abuse of humanity in Britain today, and should be stamped out. The mothers who do this should have both their babies and their benefits removed.

  • Comment number 12.

    IDS should mind his own business. Last time he spoke in public, he branded an entire town (Merthyr Tydfil) as workshy scroungers, despite never having been there. Now he's sticking his nose into other people's relationships.
    What is it with this bloke that he isn't happy unless he's trying to modify (or social engineer) our lives and habits?

  • Comment number 13.

    What do we value as humans? Being able to rely on someone, knowing we are accepted as we are and a willingness to overcome difficulties. Commitment to all of these and openness to the changes that children bring about (and oh boy, do children change your life!) is what marriage is all about.

    With that framework, children could not have a better start in life.

    Anything else tends to destroy individuals and society.

  • Comment number 14.

    Should the government help incentivise marriage?

    'Incentivise'? Is that a British word?

    It would be simpler for the Government to 'bribe' people to get married.

  • Comment number 15.

    ..'Nick Clegg calling tax breaks for married couples "patronising drivel that belongs in the Edwardian age"..

    Well he and his cronies would know all about "patronising drivel", wouldn't they? This from the 'leader' of a party who would be happy to see the whole of the UK population travelling by horse and cart, because it's 'greener'.

    Marriage is a personal sanctity of love and commitment towards another person, and as such, is of no business of these meddling idiots. But of course, like everything else, they'll MAKE it their business.

  • Comment number 16.

    If sadly you lose your job, you would be better seperating and one of you moving out. You are allowed £202.40 a week to live on, thats household, not each person. If you were stupid and saved all your lives and one of you receives a pension, that is taken away from your entitlement. You are allowed no more than what DWP think you can live on. So Mr Duncan Smith, how does this measure up to your ideas of supporting married couples? You would as I say, be better getting a divorce and living next door to each other if you lose your job. A lot of people are going to be facing this situation in the next few months. So how are you going to support married couples when they need help? The tax system and benefits system is favourable to us not getting married. Is this just another load of empty words from IDS?

  • Comment number 17.

    Marriage should have no special incentive from a state perspective, except that it is deemed a legal contract. I am married and view our marriage as binding; no out, no infedelity, shared resources, shared responsibilities, shared liabilities, etc. If it was binding and people are in breach of contract, then treat as any other contract - i.e. there are penalty clauses, enforceable under law!

    I would like tax allowances to be transferable - but that could apply to anyone who has a legally binding relationship contract (marriage, civil, parental, etc.)

  • Comment number 18.

    Absolutely.

    Until we recognise that marriage between two people of the opposite sex is still the best way (not that it's brilliant!) to promote stability and bring up children effectively, we will continue to decline as a society.

    That said, there is nothing wrong with other kinds of relationships, and they should be recognised as appropriate for those who choose them, too.

    The Government should always promote and reward the best, and be respectful towards those that think otherwise.

    That's what libertarian politics is all about - and what the Coalition seems to be trying to achieve.

  • Comment number 19.

    What?

    Don't the MPs in this government have anything more important to do, like sort out the economy? How can tax breaks for married people possibly help increase the number of jobs out there or help balance the books? How can making the tax system more complicated make life easier for small businesses?

    Honestly, I can't believe I agree with Nick Clegg but he's right! Tax breaks for married couples really are "patronising drivel that belongs in the Edwardian age".

  • Comment number 20.

    You can tell lots about a government by watching the money.

    IF the mantra that Britain is in such a financial mess after the last government's 13 years in power is true, then incentivising marriage this way is irresponsible. Because people who wanted to get married would do anyway...

    So this has to be ideological. Much like the schools programme as well as the determination to sell off the forests. It's just bad economics.

  • Comment number 21.

    No. I dont believe in marriage so I dont understand how it would benefit anyone except those who do it. It doesnt promote any stability or promise of a good relationship, and it does cause problems and disputes.

    I wouldnt complain if the gov did something supporting people who are in a long term relationship. And if anyone dare say it cannot be tracked or proven, you cannot prove or track that a married couple have a relationship. Its just a bit of paper.

    I can understand religions pushing marriage but then the contract should be worthless because god(s) likely doesnt count paper. Divorce is easy enough and has benefits for some which makes the contract nothing more than a business deal.

    If the family unit is to be promoted then surely it is the stable relationships which should be rewarded. Anyone can get married after any amount of time, but a lasting relationship takes time and can last a lifetime

  • Comment number 22.

    I am a great believer in the institution of marriage. However this is personal to each individual and a decision on how two people live together is a decision which should be respected by all others.
    The idea of giving financial incentives to people to marry is the clearest possible example of the Conservative Party's belief that money is tha driving force behind all actions. Never let a moral argument interfere with making a profit.

  • Comment number 23.

    Marriage is rather a modern phenomenon as in past times the majority of peasants could not afford to get married. It is very strange to support such a thing when it is clearly promoting one “a way of life” politicians believe everyone should adhere to.

    Marriage promotes a stable family? This is altogether a different question… Married couples get tax breaks because they have a piece of paper? Nothing to do with having children of which there is different financial help.

    Why single out married couples? What about gay and lesbian couples? and why not single people?

  • Comment number 24.

    Surely there are more importasnt matters to be discussed by our Government.

    Married. civil partnership, living together, divorced or single - each to their own and let people live their lives.

  • Comment number 25.

    Marriage, or any similar arrangement which provides a stable and nurturing environment in which children can grow to maturity, is already incentivised by evolution.

    The government should be looking at ways to disincentivise those feckless lifestyles, often dependent on the state, which result in poorer outcomes for children.

    However, if they want to give me some additional concessions I am not going to complain.

  • Comment number 26.

    so ED thinks u should have tax breaks if your marrid well let me inform him my son and his partner a woman before some idiot posts somthing about gays have been together for 20 years thay have a house no children but thay are totally commited to one an other but because thay are not marrid thay are penalised the man is a rabit right wing fool

  • Comment number 27.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 28.

    Every administration over the past 20 years has been helping families by way of state funding.

    How about helping out the average single joe who often has it harder financially due to bills having to be paid in full, rather than half as it would be if they were married/co-habiting.

  • Comment number 29.

    A great move. Whatever the marriage haters say, research has consistently demonstrated that the best platform for children is a family consisting of a married man and woman. There can be no argument that this is a fact. It is not perfect and marriages do break down but at least these people have given it a go and shown real committment to one another by sharing all they have and enshrining their love for one another in law. Anything that promotes this structure should be welcomed. In a world where we see more and more feral youth, dumbed down education and more poverty, the institution of marriage should be encouraged and if this means that married couples receive tax breaks then so be it. For too long, the tax and benefits sytem has promoted fecklessness and idleness. Looking after the hard working people who try and do their best for themselves, their kids and society in general should take precedence over the idle and the feckless.

  • Comment number 30.

    Should they? Yeah, why not. Makes a decent change to LieBour helping to incentivise being single, and pregnant, and jobless, and self entitled.

  • Comment number 31.

    "What is stopping you from getting married?"

    No one wants to marry me. :-(

  • Comment number 32.

    To be honest I wish the government would stop overstepping its remit, take its nose out of our private lives and business and instead of wasting vast amounts of OUR money on behavioural engineering projects start using it for the basic civic functions for which it was intended but which seem to have become buried in a landfill of trendy, 'nice to have' but ultimately deeply illiberal initiatives driven by pressure groups and lobbying organisations.

    However desirable or undesirable the powers-that-be may consider something, it's my choice whether or not I marry, just as it's up to me whether I lose weight, smoke, drink, donate my organs, drive to work or catch the bus, follow a religion, have children or a million other adult decisions which should be driven by individual conscience and preference rather than 'incentivised' and influenced under the new behavioural politics with its nudges, financial penalties, bullying campaigns and legislation.

    For what it's worth I am married and consider it a desirable state - for my wife and I. Others (not least those who've been previously and unsuccessfully married) will inevitably see it differently. If I'd married my ex for the wrong reasons we'd have without a doubt ended up in an acrimonious divorce. The best thing the Govt could probably do for married people would involve taking their feet off our heads and throwing us a few crumbs so we actually have the time and money for a healthy home and family life, and teaching youngsters about relationships, love and companionship instead of the current focus on the 'mechanics' of sex.

  • Comment number 33.

    20. At 1:09pm on 08 Feb 2011, Phosgene wrote:You can tell lots about a government by watching the money.

    IF the mantra that Britain is in such a financial mess after the last government's 13 years in power is true, then incentivising marriage this way is irresponsible. Because people who wanted to get married would do anyway...

    So this has to be ideological. Much like the schools programme as well as the determination to sell off the forests. It's just bad economics.


    --------------------------------------
    Excellent post. Right on the nail. Bad economics fed by ideology.

  • Comment number 34.

    It really has nothing to do with anyone if people are married or not. It is and should be a completely personal matter. Let's face it it mostly comes down to people "frowning" on others who have sex without being married. Well that has been going on since man was created!

  • Comment number 35.

    He should bring back the married tax allowance and fund it be stopping various tax benefits for haveing children, he should also bring back Mira's tax relieve,

  • Comment number 36.

    Should the government help incentivise marriage?

    Will it also include Gay marraige?, I can already see the legal writs flying if it is only applicable to hererosexual marriages, not gay marraiges, and will the government get back a refund uopn divorce.


    Will it also apply if a person decides to marry their dog!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is a stupid man, factually proven by his ineptitude and openly visible and transparant stupidity of idealistic bias regarding his political idealistic beliefs of creating unjust and imoral rewards for the sake of a contractual agreement, which is basically an action of a totalitarian dictatorial nature.

    His government is overseeing the destruction and break up of marriages/familys due to policys implemented by his/this government, as well as such horrendous outcomes, those who suffer will now be further disadvantaged and damaged by this governments taxation policy.

    This government is also pulling the rug from NEWLY government created broken familys who seek advice and help from citizen advice and other advisory services.

    This government has HYPOCRACY running through its idealistic biased veins, as this attrociously biased policy FACTUALLY PROVES.

    Have we not had enough social meddling from previous Labour government.

    It is the ENDEMIC DUTY of ANY government to ACT IN COMPLETE FAIRNESS and WITHOUT BIAS to ALL parts, groups of people in our country.

    It is PURE HYPOCRACY and ATTROCIOUS ABSURDITY that enables such DEPRIVING ideals to be formulated and implemented for the purpose of SOCIAL ENGINEERING while NEGLECTING and NEGATINGa BIGGER and MORE IMPORTANTLY SERIOUS DUTY of ENDEMIC and MORAL FAIRNESS.

    It is a policy of SERIOUS connotations to ATTROCIOUS and VILE APARTHEID POLICY, as it SPECIFICALLY creates and SEGREGATES and FINANCIALLY PUNISHES BY DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE & NON-MARRIAGE.

    Next, are we going to have married people sitting at the front of buses and non married at the back, shops & toilets for married & non married!!!

    ABSURD & ATTROCIOUS INSULT TO COMMON & BASIC DECENCY, WHATEVER THE WARPED SENSE of IDEAL/SENTIMENT, PURPOSE BEHIND IT.

  • Comment number 38.

    I feel that offering financial incentives to married couples does the opposite to what is intended. If you have to be bribed to get (or stay) married, doesn't that suggest that the marriage is purely a financial convenience?

    What is the value of marriage if a few tax breaks are supposed to make the difference between someone chosing to marry, or not?

  • Comment number 39.

    I would have though that this would go against Camerons BIG SOCIETY, which I thought encompassed FREE LOVE, maybe communitys sharing wives, swapping etc, is not whats intended!!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    The Government does incentivize marriage, and that other matter of personal lifestyle choice, having children, but co-habiting couples, and same-sex couples in civil partnership, immediately cry "foul", claiming that these tax breaks are unfair and discriminate against them.
    So, in the true egalitarian spirit of modern correctness, the other groups are allowed to inch towards the marital ledge, on the fiscal cliff-face.
    Personally, I think that every individual should be taxed independently of every other individual, and should the decision be taken to marry, have children, a car, a flat-screen television or a dog, then it's up to the individuals concerned to pay for that lifestyle choice, rather than expecting everyone else to subsidise them.

  • Comment number 41.

    So, Daves new big fair society is not quite so fair & all encompassing.

  • Comment number 42.

    The government shouldn't be discriminating against single people. Living together already has financial benefits, and single people need the money more so they can afford to go out and meet someone! lol

  • Comment number 43.

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO A MILLION ZILLION TIMES NO!!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    "Do you aspire to marry? What is stopping you from getting married? Is it time to make marriage a priority again? Or is marriage a thing of the past?"
    No.
    Happiness.
    No.
    Yes.

  • Comment number 45.

    The government already does incentivise marriage through the tax system. Look up the rules for inheritance tax.

  • Comment number 46.

    YES I agree with this intiative to promote marriage so long as it goes with a health and wealth warning on the packet!

  • Comment number 47.

    Interesting. In the first 17 comments only no.5 seems to have had a thought for children. Hedonism rules OK.
    The argument is that the state should not intervene or distinguish between the 'lifestyle choices' of marriage, or unmarried couples or being a single parent - usually mother. But the state pays out vastly different sums in funding the results of these choices. Married couples with children are on average far less a burden on the state on all kinds of levels than other arrangements involving children; crime, health, unemployment, social services. So if the state should not discriminate on the lifestyle choice, I'd like the state to not discriminate on the handouts. Lets have equal, non-means tested support for families of married, unmarried, and single households. And that includes the costs of things like priority housing and benefits for single parents, and some of the latter of my acquaintance have children as a lifestyle choice with the man of the moment, no intention of having a stable relationship, and then expect the state to pick up the tab.
    Incentivising marriage has proven societal benefits. The nett gain outweighs the protestations of those who want to live another way, who we should nevertheless respect.

  • Comment number 48.

    Just make the tax system easier, basic allowance 12K, single 35%tax, married 30% tax, add a child 25% tax (no child benefit) add another child 20% tax and that is the limit.More children are your cost and when they leave school your tax returns to 30% level. Upper limit before higher rate taxation at 40% begins 100K with no reductions for children.
    No Tax credits, save money administering that, no child benefit save money there too.

    Benefits the same a basic level with additions for children.

    Then if you want to get married you will anyway. Civil partnerships recognised.

  • Comment number 49.

    10. At 1:02pm on 08 Feb 2011, 5 days to go wrote:

    2. At 12:47pm on 08 Feb 2011, Bob wrote:
    By all means give married couples state financial support. After the legislation is passed I will then sue the British Government for equal rights
    *************
    I'll join you!
    ----------------------------------------------------
    A number of tax advantages ( 2nd home, Section 660 ... ) are available to un-married couples which are not available to married couples so a levelling of the playing field is called for.

    These should have been removed or extended to married couples when Lawson removed all the marriage benifits from the tax system.

  • Comment number 50.

    I would have thought that anyone knowing that the term "common law" spouse is legally meaningless and therefore they have no entitlement to anything of the other partner on death or relationship breakdown and are subject to inheritance tax if they are bequeathed anything, should galvanise unmarried couples to getting married.

    To those that argue "I don't need a piece of paper to show I love someone" are missing the point. This is about financially looking after #1 and you do need a piece of paper to ensure your partner can leave their estate to you without IHT (and can transfer assets without tax concerns between you during their lifetime) and that in the event of relationship breakdown the financial interests of both parties are at least well understood if not totally protected. A partner arguing they don't need such a piece of paper deserved to be questioned somewhat on their commitment to the relationship.

    And you see, the best bit is that you actually don't need tell anyone (apart from the Registar and the taxman and possibly employer). It costs you about £100 and you can pop down to the registry office one lunchtime, get two strangers off the street to be witnesses and you have that "piece of paper". Put it away until you need it and don't need to tell your friends or relatives if you don't want to. Conversely if you want to make a fuss and invite your mates and relatives, that's upto you.

    And for those who want a "civil partnership" for heterosexuals: you can. It's called marriage and can be obtained as per the previous paragraph.

    Since all this should be common knowledge, I don't see why the government need incentivise it. If people want to pay more inheritance tax than they need, why should we prevent it? However, since on the breakdown of such relationships usually leads to the taxpayer picking up the tab of the kids and at least one of the adults, then on second thoughts maybe we should.

  • Comment number 51.

    Although my Wife and I are Atheists and married, wha........?
    why would you do that?,
    well for some reason my wife had this dream of a big dress etc, from early childhood, so we did that.

    I can not agree with a government discriminating against people who chose not to. There is no real valid reason to get that silly little bit of paper, after all that is all it is. The situation was slightly different before the automatic right of parental responsibility for the father of a child born outside marriage. Now however there is really no real reason to get married.
    Religious reasons, erm no sorry watched too many amazing David Attenborough documentary's to believe in any of that old tripe.

    Social reasons, Children brought up a home with married parents that hate each other is seriously disadvantaged over a home with 2 un-married parents that love and nurture each other.

    The Government are once again tampering where they have no right and poking their nose in where it is neither required or wanted. Someone needs to point out to IDS that it is the role of the government to carry out the will of the people and not for them to invent silly policies to attempt to change any pattern of behavior in the public that they have already decided is not for them.
    Yes this is why churches are empty because only completely indoctrinated people attend, and given all the scientific material available to the general public these days is it any wonder. Being married does not make you a better person. This ideological plan is just plain stupid and regressive, we should be promoting healthy home environments not an empty home with an "iou parenting", notice stuck to the fridge as both parents have been forced to work to make ends meet. Due to inflation and tax rises and cuts in benefits by this government.

  • Comment number 52.

    29. At 1:23pm on 08 Feb 2011, Dr Prod wrote:

    A great move. Whatever the marriage haters say, research has consistently demonstrated that the best platform for children is a family consisting of a married man and woman. There can be no argument that this is a fact. It is not perfect and marriages do break down but at least these people have given it a go and shown real committment to one another by sharing all they have and enshrining their love for one another in law. Anything that promotes this structure should be welcomed. In a world where we see more and more feral youth, dumbed down education and more poverty, the institution of marriage should be encouraged and if this means that married couples receive tax breaks then so be it. For too long, the tax and benefits sytem has promoted fecklessness and idleness. Looking after the hard working people who try and do their best for themselves, their kids and society in general should take precedence over the idle and the feckless.

    ---------------------

    Marriage is only 1 state of relationship. 11.2 people out of 1000 (per yr) get divorced in england and wales alone!

    The desired outcome is a long lasting relationship. Yet marriage fails here because you can quickly get married to someone but have a short lived marriage. Therefore it fails at the first hurdle.

    The length of the relationship is the desired attribute and so relationships could be given benefits based on duration and a number of other attributes such as living arrangements.

    Its not difficult to seperate while still being technically married. Just as couples without the piece of paper can live together for many years if not their whole life.

    I agree that the system has supported bad decisions which should be reversed quickly, but promoting someones belief over other peoples is not the way either. Not everyone believes in marriage because it is only a business contract now.

  • Comment number 53.

    Even though I dislike Nicjk Clegg for forming a government with the tories I have to agree with what he says about this.

    "patronising drivel that belongs in the Edwardian age"

  • Comment number 54.

    No. There should be no tax breaks for married couples or any other incentives to get married . why should single people be punished for wanting to stay single. If you chose to get married of stay single is nothing to do with goverments and they should not try to use tax to force the issue.

  • Comment number 55.

    26. At 1:18pm on 08 Feb 2011, nancy wrote:
    so ED thinks u should have tax breaks if your marrid well let me inform him my son and his partner a woman before some idiot posts somthing about gays have been together for 20 years thay have a house no children but thay are totally commited to one an other but because thay are not marrid thay are penalised the man is a rabit right wing fool


    Well if they feel penalised there is something they are perfectly at liberty to do something about it: get married. If they don't want to get married they should shut up about feeling penalised. Maybe your son and his partner should ask themselves what happens to the estate of the other upon their death.

  • Comment number 56.

    Ian Duncan Smith is making a laudable attempt to reinvigorate marriage as an institution.A bit Edwardian values but then he is ex military and has a military background.

    Financial incentives are probably not the answer. The re launching of tax breaks isn’t likely, for example, to thrust Ed Miliband in to marrying his partner, mother of his children.

    Perhaps he should look at the Big Society and see that all parents/ guardians, both single, couples, separated, divorcees and Grandparents bringing up children as a family need support.

    There are many kinds of families bringing up children in poverty. Let’s concentrate on providing the services and support that all children need to ensure they reach their potential.

    Good schools, good education, good local leisure centres, parks woods and forest are what families need.Support for all parents suffering in these days of austerity.

    Selling of the green belt, the forests, the leisure centres and parks is not the way forward. If that is the only way I could get a married persons allowance then forget it.

  • Comment number 57.

    Tax breaks for married people is wrong. I'm married, but I don't see how that makes me better than other people. If the government want to promote stability for families they can start off by building some affordable housing, so that young people aren't renting till their forties, and then set about adjusting the work/life balance in this country, so that people with kids have a chance of seeing them once in a while.

  • Comment number 58.

    What right do the ConDems have to interfere in a couples decision on whether or not to marry. Most people maryr for love not cash or is this the Governments latest bribe for the 'Big Society'.

    Why don't they try to stick to their job and leave individuals alone.

  • Comment number 59.

    Absolute nonsense!!! Is there no reason they will use to raise
    taxes/prices???

    Support marriage,
    Min fee on booze,

    Who does the government think they are fooling, damn almost everybody!

  • Comment number 60.

    30. At 1:23pm on 08 Feb 2011, Alastair wrote:
    "Should they? Yeah, why not. Makes a decent change to LieBour helping to incentivise being single, and pregnant, and jobless, and self entitled."

    Yes, because that's what they did, wasn't it? (If you believe the Daily Mail it was). Oh, and "Liebour". Very witty. I laugh out loud everytime someone writes it. You forgot add the "Nu" at the start. And you forgot to say "Tony Bliar".

  • Comment number 61.

    "Should the government help incentivise marriage?"
    **The government has no right to impose its will on, or interfere with, personal relationships.

    "Do you aspire to marry?"
    ** Nope. Not avoiding it either.

    "What is stopping you from getting married?"
    **The experiences of two previous marriages for one and secondly, no viable partner. (Not that I'm looking)

    "Is it time to make marriage a priority again? Or is marriage a thing of the past?"
    ** The priority is making the most of one's Life. That may or may not include marriage.

    Anyway, marriage is all about a relationship - not a silly certficate or a formal entry in some register and is certainly nothing to do with any government which needs to learn to keep its nose out of our private affairs.

  • Comment number 62.

    Putting tax incentives on marriage is just imposing an ideological way of life on people.

    Marriage doesn't mean anything. It's made up. People might like the idea of it but that doesn't change that it's a fabrication of the human mind. To allow people tax relief because they are married is ridiculous.

    What about people who don't want to get married? Or who choose to be single, or are unfortunate enough not to be able to find a suitable partner if they want one?

    Do civil partnerships get the same deal? What about long term cohabitants?

    This is born from the silly and unrealistic idea that all married couples are happy and provide perfect environments to raise children!

  • Comment number 63.

    Doubtless also, if this policy goes ahead, the tax reward will be so small as to make no difference to anyone's lives.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Good idea, as I am married. Besides, I've been in near constant employment (despite being made redundant twice) for the last 12 years, and not because I've got some safe cushy job, but because I've fought hard to stay employed. I bloody well should get something back.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yes, marriage should attract a tax incentive of some form. Successful marriages form the bedrock of any decent society. Without marriage to solemnise a relationship, we rely on people's whims as to whether they stay together, and in an age of bewildering choice and change this puts a strain on a relationship. We have rewarded the feckless and useless for far too long, and our society is suffering as a result. People are becoming more immature, more selfish and more hedonistic. Not only do we place less value on marriage, but we openly attack those cultures to whom marriage is important. Look at the vitriol poured on the gypsy community because their young people dare to get married before raising children!! But we have no right to jeer, because our society is considerably worse. Young men (and women!) drink, sleep around and play computer games like teenagers well into their 20s and 30s when they would in the past have been settling down to marriage and family life. Women have been conned by the (male-led) media into believing that they must sleep around, look a certain way, act a certain way to stay attactive to men. They have been bullied into the belief that marriage makes them a man's property, but in eschewing marriage they have become little more than the playthings of ALL men, to be leered at, sexualised and demeaned. A married woman had a respectability that is being rapidly eroded by the belief that stepping off the hedonism carousel makes you less of a person. This is rubbish dreamt up by the corporate money men who want to keep you consuming.

    Marriage is greener too. A married couple consumes less of everything than two single people, but unfortunately the shared frugality of married life and children probably won't suit the monied elite, who want to keep us all single and all consuming until we die.

    The government should reward good behaviours as much as it punishes and taxes the bad. If you smoke or drink, or do anything that's 'bad', you are crippled with tax. It's all stick and no carrot. It's high time that good choices and socially responsible behaviours were recognised. Married couples and their children have statistically better outcomes - fact. So anything that encourages successful marriage is a good thing.

  • Comment number 67.

    Sorry but we're "incentivising" marriage and "promoting" democracy? Shouldn't that be the other way round?

    Not sure about other people but I got married because I love my wife not for a tax break!

    Just goes to show how low the goverment thinks we'll stoop.

  • Comment number 68.

    People can you not see this is just another ploy to introduce a new tax!

  • Comment number 69.

    Whats stopping us from getting married?

    The Cost.

    Even for a simple, small ceremony and celebration it costs more than we can afford right now.

    Maybe one day.....


  • Comment number 70.

    37. At 1:33pm on 08 Feb 2011, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    "Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is a stupid man, factually proven by his ineptitude and openly visible and transparant stupidity of idealistic bias"

    Mate, using the adjective 'factually' to describe your own opinion may be more eloquent than shouting 'fact!' - as so many people irritatingly do - but it still fails to turn personal assertion into empirical fact. For what it's worth, I share your opinion that IDS is dim (though reasonably well-intentioned). However, until such times as I see the results of an intelligence test, this will stay an opinion.

  • Comment number 71.

    What happened to the research on the BBC. The truth of it is the current system is unfair against married couples, so to Bob (message 2), it is the married couples who should sue for discrimination, just a couple of examples:
    1. Unmarried couples can claim a house each as their primary residence and avoid capital gains tax. Married couples are only allowed one between the two
    2. Child benefit is going to be with drawn if either is a higher tax payer. Unmarried couples could avoid by switching the guardianship to the non higher tax payer
    So come on BBC (Big Bolshevik Commune) change the title to “should bias be lifted against married couples”, but why let the truth get in the way of a good bit Tory bashing.

  • Comment number 72.

    As they clearly hate families with children it would seem somewhat redundant and hypocritical to support marriages.

    So they will probably do it!

  • Comment number 73.

    Is *incentivise* HYS's favourite word. It's AWFUL!!!! As is marriage - legalised slavery, mostly, No idea why anyone would want to do it - and I certainly don't want to pay for a pile of royals to get drunk and overfed.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    "2. At 12:47pm on 08 Feb 2011, Bob wrote:
    By all means give married couples state financial support. After the legislation is passed I will then sue the British Government for equal rights"

    I am assuming your law suite is already in as some pensioners have special tax consessions if they are married or are you waiting till you reach the relivant age?

  • Comment number 76.

    My goodness! what other nugget are the Tories going to pull out to use as a smoke screen for their failures?
    We've had the multiculturalism failure speech, the Libyan bomber (again)and this morning it was the bank tax. Now it's the marriage debate!

  • Comment number 77.

    66. At 2:00pm on 08 Feb 2011, LippyLippo wrote:
    Yes, marriage should attract a tax incentive of some form. Successful marriages form the bedrock of any decent society.
    ..........................................................

    My partner and I have been together for 18 years (much longer than a lot of married couples we know)and have never felt the need to have a bit of paper to prove we are commited to each other, your comment that unless you are married you are not part of decent society is insulting.

  • Comment number 78.

    If the Govt were interested in furthering marriage it would re-draft the current "Golddigger's charter" that the divorce law has become.

    What would be more compelling otherwise would be to stop promising all and sundry that however much they over-commit themselves, someone else will pick up the tab for their life choice. As far as I'm concerned, you can do what the %$3* you like as long as you don't expect me to fund it.

  • Comment number 79.

    I don't think that there should be financial incentives to get married. I don't think that there should be financial or other discrimination against single or cohabiting adults with or without children. It seems to me that Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron and several others see single parents in particular and their children as second class citizens and this is a form of patronising discrimination that belongs in the Dark Ages.

  • Comment number 80.

    No. Marriage is an outdated and failed institution that belongs to a period of history that is now over. Hence the muchlamented "instability" of the institution, with divorces, custody cases, etc, that cost the state a fortune, not to mention making a lot of money for the legal profession from which many of our politicians originate. Someone's bound to point out how many remarriages there are - of course there are. It's a historical characteristic of the human race that it goes on and one repeating a piece of malfunctional behaviour for quite a long period even when that piece of behaviour's social usefulness is long over. At present, marriage is sustained by worn old ideology in combination with those parts of business that make a whooping profit out of it, plus the religions. The only legitimate input a government should have in this area is to run properly-financed and staffed systems to ensure that all children, no matter of what sort of union, receive optimum health care from birth through to the age of independence, are protected from harm, and receive a basic and effective education. The second would require firm direction on levels of sentencing for those who harm children, as well as along with the first and third require - oh dear - cash, instead of outworn ideology.

  • Comment number 81.

    I am sick to my back teeth of the social engineering each and every government has attempted over the last 60 years in a vain attempt at molding us into good little sheeple.

    I am married, as my parents were before me and I can honestly say the tiny piece of paper isn't what makes the difference; it is the inherent belief in the family unit above all else - and that is something which successive governments, labourious or bory, have eroded with their asinine attempts at nation and/or legacy building.

    You want to help marriage? Reduce the tax and freedom burden the state is piling on myself and my family; my child will know thousands of pounds of tax that had nothing to do with them because of Brown's profigacy and the continuation of it by Osbourne. Being able to afford to work less, reasserting the rule of law and of parliament and reducing state intervention in our lives will do more for family life and overall happiness than any state-mandated incentive.

  • Comment number 82.

    Am I the only one cynical enough to think this 'incentive' will be to tax the single more not tax the married less.

  • Comment number 83.

    Many postings are trivial and jokey on what is a big topic. The decline in stable relationships and the cost to society both in cash terms (e.g. supporting single mothers) and in social terms (e.g. ill-educated out-of-control children with a poor future) suggest that providing incentives to marriage and being a bit more judgemental on those who expect the state to pick up the pieces after relationship breakdowns would pay dividends - both carrot and stick. The UK currently has the worst record in Europe for family breakdown and it shows.

    For Chezza 100, who says it is too expensive, the cost of getting married is less than £100 because a couple do not need a £1,000 wedding dress etc. What they need is long-term committment to each other (for better or worse) and to bring up children together.

  • Comment number 84.

    I'd much prefer a system that supports families irrespective of the marital status of the adults involved. The system I would prefer would be a transferable tax allowance so that any family where two adults live together with children under the age of 18 would be allowed to transfer 50% of one adult’s tax allowance to the other adult.

  • Comment number 85.

    Don't we all support families enough already through our taxes? What on earth is happening here? Marriage seems to have gone out of the window for years yet people 'living together' still get the same rights and allowances as married people so why should we all pay more just to get them to marry?

    Getting back to marriage before children is a challenge the Government of any colour is not going to win. Children out of wedlock used to be called a name which the filter won't let me use, now it's regarded as normal. But they all want the allowances and some, dare I suggest 'breed' to get the money.

    Old fashioned values as they used to be called are dead in the modern world, it's all about how much can I get out of the Government, not what can I do for the Country so I am sorry Mr Duncan-Smith but this time you are wrong. Do not encourage people to have more ways to get more out of the Government please.

    Paying people who get married or as he calls it, giving them tax breaks, is just another way of handing out tax payers money for a lost cause.

    It is sad but true. Marriage as an institution people choose first before having children is finished because they don't have to bother and still get all the privileges.

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh dear Iain Dullard Smith is at it again.

    The 2004 Civil Partnerships act states categorically that in matters of TAX, civil partners are treated exactly the same as Heterosexual Married couples. Therefore for this to progress It has to include CP's. Therefore we will have the delicious sight of Tory MP's & Ministers having to explain to their Constituents why the gay couple down the road gets a tax break and the widowed mother of four does not..Or the same Tory Ministers arguing that CP's should be discriminated against (section 28 anyone??) in a multitude of legal cases.
    Leave well alone Mr Dullard Smith, your time has passed.

  • Comment number 87.

    Its not an incentive to get married that's needed its a compensation for the rights you lose when you do get married. The advantages and freedom unmarried couples enjoy should be enjoyed by married couples too. And most importantly to their children. There is an assumption in this country that if your parents are married all is Ok with the child and if they are unmarried the child needs help. In general children with unmarried couples enjoy higher standards of living and benefits than those to married couples. Fact. A damaging trend propagated by the 'anti middle class' bias of the last Labour government who let class war over-ride basic social justice.

  • Comment number 88.

    Should the government help incentivise marriage?
    At what age can children be left alone?
    How should we deal with anti-social behaviour?

    Wonder if there is a link between these questions?

  • Comment number 89.

    we have moved on remember when you got married at a certain of year for tax reasons now this Goverment want you to sign up to marriage for a few quid off your tax its plain daft ,why dont we tackle the real problems if couples choose to marry fine if not fine,there are enough things to get sorted in this country of much more importance ,cutting what were our basic services ,throwing more on the dole ,we want to move forward not backwards ,wake up citizens ,lets get positive changes that the majority can agree on

  • Comment number 90.

    37. At 1:33pm on 08 Feb 2011, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    +++++++++++

    Oh good - you found the caps lock


    In answer to the topic, No the government shouldn't be trying to ideologically change the entire nation in such a specific way, unless it was for instance; healthy eating, excercising, organ donation etc.

    Also, will this incentive apply to the muslim concept of mu'tah? (Fixed-Term/Temporary Marriage)

  • Comment number 91.

    Democracy exists to alloow big business to flourish in a stabel environment. The UK needs to sort out its own problems (Poor education, escalating poverty, spiralling debt, widespread drug abuse and increasing violence)before pontificating to other nations. Maybe reigning in the millionaire bankers and spreading wealth more evenly could be a good starting place. ....from Switzerland

  • Comment number 92.

    Nothing wrong with promoting it, but at the very least they should not be financially penalising it as they do now.

  • Comment number 93.

    We have been married fifty years and never looked back, best thing I ever did. What is right for me doesn't mean others feel the same. It's a personal decision nothing to do with the Government. Being in a settled married relationship is easier for legal and financial purposes but so many seem to separate now that bothering to get married does seem an unecessary expense. What amazes me is that couples live together for years, have children and then spend £thousands on a wedding. Once we had children a big party would not nave been top of our list of desirable expenses

  • Comment number 94.

    People should neither be favoured nor penalised by Government, financially or otherwise, when making personal decisions about relationships.

  • Comment number 95.

    call me an old cynic,but isn't this a return to the thatcher/major years.
    is this it! the the sum total this coilition as to offer,retro politics
    what next spandau what's is name at No1.pathetic......

  • Comment number 96.

    Of course not, elected leaders shouldn't be enforcing social engineering, but who on earth pays any attention to these people...

  • Comment number 97.

    Should the government help incentivise marriage? Absolutely not!

    There are many reasons why people do not want to get married and I'm sure there are many in my position.

    My partner and I both have children by previous marriages and we both have a house and savings. We live in one house and rent the other to supplement the pitiful State Pension provision. We have provided a reasonable sum for each other in our wills, but the majority of our estates we want to go to our respective children.

    Marriage would mean that our wills could be challenged, one of us could then inherit everything and exclude the other's children. This could well happen if we died together in an accident or if one of us dies before the other.

    Neither of us wants to marry. Why should we be penalised for this decision?

  • Comment number 98.

    Should the government help incentivise marriage? Absolutely not!

    There are many reasons why people do not want to get married and I'm sure there are many in my position.

    My partner and I both have children by previous marriages and we both have a house and savings. We live in one house and rent the other to supplement the pitiful State Pension provision. We have provided a reasonable sum for each other in our wills, but the majority of our estates we want to go to our respective children.

    Marriage would mean that our wills could be challenged, one of us could then inherit everything and exclude the other's children. This could well happen if we died together in an accident or if one of us dies before the other.

    Neither of us wants to marry. Why should we be penalised for this decision?

  • Comment number 99.

    55. At 1:51pm on 08 Feb 2011, Total Mass Retain wrote:

    26. At 1:18pm on 08 Feb 2011, nancy wrote:
    so ED thinks u should have tax breaks if your marrid well let me inform him my son and his partner a woman before some idiot posts somthing about gays have been together for 20 years thay have a house no children but thay are totally commited to one an other but because thay are not marrid thay are penalised the man is a rabit right wing fool

    Well if they feel penalised there is something they are perfectly at liberty to do something about it: get married. If they don't want to get married they should shut up about feeling penalised. Maybe your son and his partner should ask themselves what happens to the estate of the other upon their death.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Actually I think you'll find depending on circumstances it can be more beneficial to reclassify themselves (if married) to 'tenants-in-common' to avoid paying excesive inheritance tax - so maybe they don't need to get married to avoid paying huge IHT....

    You're also saying if they feel hard done by to just become part of the system rather than ask for change to the system?

    Imagine if many others throughout history had done that....The North in the American civil war perhaps? Ah let's forget this fighting and just rejoin the established system of slavery eh?

    Or perhaps the suffragettes?

    How about don't offer incentives for lifestyle choices that only benefit the people receiving the incentive.

    Having loving parents is more important than having married unloving parents, such as the married parents of victoria climbie.

  • Comment number 100.

    Everyone knows that one's sex life becomes non-existent after marriage. So the implication is that Dave wants us to be like him? No thank you.

 

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