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 265.

    263.Ms disgruntled
    Single people get a 25% reduction in Council Tax couples do not, can you explain how single people subsidise couples?

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    so getting married for money, isn't that illegal?

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    "send an important signal that we value couples and the commitment that people make when they get married".

    I take this to mean that the government doesn't value single people - but then we know this already this given that the law states that single people must subsidise the council tax for couples and families

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    An unnecessary extra complication in a complicated tax system, with all its administrative costs, all to give a tiny bung to /our/ sort of people at the expense of the /other/ sort of people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Are you married ? No, I'm naturally round shouldered !

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    People don't get married for 'tax breaks'. This is a dangerous, and ultimately flawed, attempt at social engineering.

    Anyone remember double income tax relief for mortgages ? It fuelled a housing boom/crash.

    So when they separate but don't get divorced they lose it ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    There are some real individual moaners on here, the self conceited me me brigade, don't want kids or a partner as they cost money, anyone getting more tax relief than then makes it a sin.
    If the stay at home people went and got a job it may be yours? you are made unemployed because they are better than you. Then you will be moaning again, why does next door have two incomes and I don't have any.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    How about laws to close some of the tax avoidance loopholes, and agreements HMRC indiviuals made with Vodaphone amongst other? Billions there, £42 billion according to the Government. Instead, lets waste time with a sop to the tory UKIP wing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    Search on BBC news gave the following:

    Sorry, there are no results for 'francois murad' in the category 'News'.
    Select from the options on the left to broaden your search.

    Call yourselves 'journalists'?
    You are puppets of an oppressive regime and should hang your heads in shame!

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    Must I get married, I don't want to!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    Nothing more than a sop to the loony right of the Tory party, Cameron is desperate to grub up votes from anywhere. The clock is ticking Dave, less than 2 years to go!

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    Me and my long term partner live separately. We both see our child every day and our child is aware of exactly what the situation is.

    Fact is, by living separately while we're both working, we're saving around £5,000 a year.

    That's all affected by Council Tax rates (ludicrous), Childcare, Tax Credits.

    So they want to help me out to the tune of 1£50 a year? Hmmmm, work that out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    £150 or slightly less than 50p a day. WOO-HOO!! There's so much fuss and argument and (wasted) parliamentry time put into these meaningless gestures that one would almost suspect they were trying to distract from the real issues.........

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    That extra £2.80 a week should have them queing up in the aisles to wed.

    Of courser that's if people ignore the £38 a week the average family have lost as a result of having the Millionaires Cabinet in Office.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Currently we are taxed as individuals, but couples only qualify for benefits as a unit.

    Treat everyone equally, then these sorts of issues don't come up. Although this is supposed to "encourage stable relationships" the amount of money is not enough of an incentive to change anyones way of life - especially when you get higher benefits if you are single.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.


    And being single isnt a ifestyle choice?

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    This is nothing more than a vote winner for the Tory's, I know endless single working professionals who not only pay ridiculous high rates of tax to go towards things such as this, public sector none jobs and MP pay increases!!, and what we get?. A clear message to get the hell out of this country

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    I checked with my ex-wife. She also thinks that a married tax break would not have kept our marriage together. I also do not see why a woman, widowed or divorced, should be worse off because she doesn't have a man with her. If it's conventional morality, Boris Johnson can father children all over the place but, because he's not divorced, get the tax break. A bad idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    221: Cromwell made adultery a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment - and it still happened. 'Twas ever thus!

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    Government has no place judging people's lifestyle choices. But at just £150/yr it's just headline-grabbing gesture politics of no real consequence.


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