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 145.

    Another day another spin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Change to Labour – “from frying pan into the fire”. After 13 years of borrowing, living on credit, borrowing, getting people use to uncapped benefits, banks scandal etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    We can't afford this.

    Absolute Joke, typical Cameron rubbish.

    As to kids - they are dealt with by Child Benefit and Tax Credits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Just to correct people - I'M paying for my pension just as YOU are paying for yours (if you have one), NOT other people's children. I am due that money because I have earned it and saved it, not because you've had a sprog.

    Sure your kid might administrate my getting my pension - that doesn't make it some sort of gift they're giving me - if anything their having a job will be mine to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Just now

    Married people are the most selfish greedy bast*ards on earth
    Far to kind, here was me thinking it was the universe. I appreciate the information and please be sure to pass this information onto your parents also; they will, I am quite sure, be heartened to know their progeny are so happy about what they sacrificed to care for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    I would rather see the government address the gross inequality that exists within the family law courts towards mothers. As the law currently stands it is in the mothers financial interest to stop the father seeing their children in order to receive more money from the CSA.

  • Comment number 139.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    Isn't this fairly logical way of dealing with several 'issues' in the UK today? Generally accepted that children from a strong family unit grow up having less pychological and behavioural issues; Major contribution to housing shortage is down to estranged couples especially those with children needing two houses; Couples cost of living cheaper and less likely to need state support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    So having been told ad nauseam that people should go out and look for work we are now offering them money to stay at home?

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Cons ahead, another idea that will have little impact on the poor but will help the richer people! In principle a reasonable idea but the cons will only make it work for the rich! Additionally it will be another giveaway to couples and will be paid for by single people who are the forgotten people in our society(look at Council Tax for example). The single need help so I hope Labour win the vote!

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    All I ask for is consistency. I can't use my wife's tax allowance because she's an "individual" with a seperate income but if we try to claim any kind of benefit, govt grant etc we are a "partnership" with a joint income. Currently after 30plus years in work she is unemployed. She can't claim as I am working but I can't use her tax allowance. How is that fair?

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Knew all along ... ah but of course, an election is just around the corner isn't it!

  • Comment number 133.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    The one big thing that does undermine families is making them jobless and penniless due to current government total failure to revive the economy

    Never mid about this £150. Load of old rubbish!!

    George, Dave & rest of the Tory malevolence are laughing in clover. The plight of majority does not touch them an inch. They have plenty of money

    It seems to me that they are failing the UK on purpose?

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    It's not about favouring married couples over single people.

    Unmarried couples presently enjoy two tax free allowances. Scrap this £150 nonsense and just make it all equal and fair - full transfer of unusued tax free allowance for married couples. Or as someone else here suggested - joint filing of income for tax as in the US.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    15 Minutes ago

    Emzdad No.51,
    1. Why should "woman" stay at home
    2. I work and I assure you my children are raised proper and better than a lot of parents I know who dont [sic] work
    " I work and I assure you my children are raised proper" Doesn't include grammar though I assume?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    They promised and they did not want to keep that promise. Marriage is a commitment that brings families together and gives children the best chances of growing into stable adults. Without this firm foundation you get broken adults and a higher cost to the social systems in the future. Without children you have no way to pay for old age. This is a tax break that is long overdue and should be more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    There should be no tax breaks for married/civil partnership couples, that are not available to single and cohabiting people. For many of us marriage is an outdated idea based on religion and tradition. The Government should not promote one type of relationship over others, that are often more stable and fulfilling. Love and commitment does not need support from tax breaks. MPs should vote no.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    Long overdue! So many other groups had some sort of support. Seen couples divorcing or not getting married because they are better off as single parents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Maybe it is time this government addressed the fact we have the highest divorce rate in the EU and also children are growing up without seeing both parents.

    Many do get married, but also many also get divorced, leaving behind misery, child contact issues and financial problems. We have far more important issues in this country with need to be addressed, not tax breaks for married couples.


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