Plans for marriage tax breaks to be published 'shortly'

Married couple Conservative MPs say that married couples are currently disadvantaged in the tax system

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David Cameron has said the government will bring forward proposals for a transferable tax allowance for married couples and civil partners "shortly".

The BBC understands it will happen some time in the autumn.

Mr Cameron has been under pressure from Tory backbenchers to honour a plan for tax breaks made in the 2010 manifesto.

Labour opposes the idea and the Lib Dems were given a specific opt-out in the coalition agreement which means they do not have to support it.

Under plans being considered, wives and husbands who do not work and pay no income tax would be able to transfer part of their annual tax-free allowance to their spouse if their partner earns less than the higher rate of tax, which currently kicks in for people earning £41,451 or more.

In 2010, the Tories said it would make four million married couples and civil partners £150 a year better off.

'Close vote'

No detail is yet clear about the amount of transferable allowance proposed now, but it would only apply to basic rate taxpayers and may not be in force before the next election.

Start Quote

The government is going to do this itself, very shortly”

End Quote David Cameron

It is understood that the proposals could be unveiled to Parliament at the time of the Autumn Statement, around the end of November.

Mr Cameron said: "The point is that we are going to be putting in place the marriage tax proposal in law.

"We will be announcing plans for that in this Parliament, quite shortly in fact."

BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said putting a timescale on the proposal should help the government head off an attempt made this week by one of its own backbenchers, former minister Tim Loughton, to amend the finance bill in favour of such an allowance.

But with Labour against the idea, and the Lib Dems allowed to abstain on it, any vote in the future would be very close, he added.

'Help all families'

The prime minister said he had not seen Mr Loughton's proposed change to the Finance Bill, but added: "I don't think that the amendment is in line with the plans that we have.

"The government is going to do this itself, very shortly, so I think we should let the government get on with it, itself."

The Tory manifesto said recognising marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system would "send an important signal that we value couples and the commitment that people make when they get married".

But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called the proposals "patronising drivel that belong in the Edwardian age".

For Labour, shadow treasury minister Catherine McKinnell said: "At a time when the Government's failed economic policies mean living standards are falling, we should be helping all families and not just some.

"Millions of people who are separated, widowed or divorced, as well as married couples where both partners work and use all their personal allowance, won't get any help from this out of touch policy."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Ohhh £150, time to rush out and put a down payment on a new Ferrari !

    I despair at the reality detachment of our politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    The proposed is political grandstanding at it's worst. Not only is the proposed benefit of marginal value it is also two-faced.

    A significant proportion of those who would benefit from this are being taxed at ever higher rates through Treasury manipulation of the the higher tax bracket threshold, reduction of child benefit and BIK rates.

    Please don't insult our intelligence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    113. Mr Jones
    "It is time that the Government addressed this issue. Married people, especially when they are parents, provide children with the security and commitment that they deserve."

    Are you also advocating tax penalties for those that cause marriages to break up?

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    It will also apply to those in cival partnerships.

    The idea is simple. Encourage stable relationships.
    Stable relationships produce better outcomes for children.

    The financial benefit being offered is negligable & is more about restating values & ending years of failed social experimentation that resulted in more single mothers & dysfuntional chidren than almost everywhere else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    It was in the Tory manifesto. No doubt the Cleglets will sit on the fence to allow it be voted out. Take note all Labour-supporting married couples.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    What a waste of time and money implementing this.It's peanuts anyway
    and when Mps are looking for a massive wage rise.They should be reduced in numbers and stop claiming expenses and also lose part of their pensions when they do wrong as they suggest of the police.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    Ill take my £150 a year tax break thank you very much you can count on my vote next time

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    101. RunningBear -This coalition has done very little for the families you want to see supported, £150.00 a year is not even worth administrating. No one is undermining married couples but having a tax system that favours one section of society is a little harsh. Ask most married people like myself what they want, better wages, cheaper living and a fair tax rate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    I agree BPK. Does anyone honestly think £2.88 a week will influence anyone to stay at home. It costs more than that to heat the house during the winter months.
    It won't affect me for at least three very good reasons, but there any point to this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    “Married Man’s Allowance” recognised that the woman was invariably a housewife, and was as a result considered a ‘dependant relative’ – strictly speaking then, in order to truly represent the ‘Return to Traditional Values’ one half of the partnership should ‘stay at home’ , perpetually have babies, and then die at an early age either in childbirth or of consumption!

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    80: No, I am not missing the point, I am fully aware of how the system works. It is the idea that people are having their children simply to provide the country with future taxpayers, and therefore should be rewarded for doing so, to which I object. I have paid into my own pension and made the sacrifice that this requires so that I do not need to rely on the state pension should it still exist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    20 Minutes ago

    ....One has to laugh.........
    Indeed one does, but not for the reason you may think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    It is time that the Government addressed this issue. Married people, especially when they are parents, provide children with the security and commitment that they deserve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.


    National Insurance is a con. It is just a tax by another name.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    If there is one thing that doesn't need subsidising it is people's desire to have sex and partner up.

    People should reflect on whether the money spent to encourage what people naturally do anyway should have been taxed from them in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    'In general terms, marriage is a good thing and needs to be encouraged'

    Maybe so but I hardly see the wedding industry preparing themselves for a flood of new bookings just because if you earn thruppence ha'penny an hour, can jump through hoops, have a dog with one eye and the missus prefers to stay at home you'll get an extra £2.88 per week if you get married!

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    In these days of washing machines, dish washers, vacuum cleaners and electronically timed cookers, is there any real reason for a parent to stay at home while the kids are at school all day? Why should we pay for them to sit around the house watching Bargain Hunt and Jeremy Kyle?

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    I thought we had laws on discrimination in this country? this surely is a clear case of discrimination for those that do not wish to be married.

    Also we have one of the highest divorce rates in the EU, how can Cameron possibly say this is a priority?

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    3. Revolution
    Speaking as a single person, why the hell should married couples get tax breaks?
    Speaking as a childless person, why the hell should people with children get massive tax breaks and child benefit ?

    Speaking as a single geek, why is there never an office whip-round when I get a new computer/car/video game for my lifestyle choice?

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Most of the 'better off' people I personally know are working (mainly married) couples. Most of the poorer people I know ( some are really poor) are single adults or single parents.

    Just an observation.


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