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
    +2

    Comment number 285.

    This Gov't still don't understand. Rather than cutting, whether it's our tax burden (a tiny bit) or our allowances and benefits - neither of which encourage extra spending, it should increase the tax-free income and increase standard tax by several percent - enough to fund some infrastructure projects now. Sure, I'd pay more, but poorer people would be better off. And the economy would move.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 284.

    Oh. please ... what difference does a minor tax adjustment make? I'm sure, though, that the money involved - no matter how small the amount - will be added to the financial demands imposed by vindictive ex-wives.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 283.

    273 Alistair Bull: Can widowed people who marry again have it too? Please, Sir, is that all right, Sir?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 282.

    Quite simple:
    If you cannot afford to get married - don't
    If you cannot afford children - don't have them
    Don't depend on the State to fund your Lifestyle choices

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 281.

    I'm a co-habiting mother working full time and paying higher-rate tax, whilst supporting my partner and child, and paying the mortgage. I get nothing. What a mug. If I threw out my partner, had a couple more kids and earned one-third of what I do, I'd be better off. Ridiculous.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 280.

    274.DavidinUSA
    Family breakdown is, it seems to me, the root cause of so much British social pathology, from crime to blizzards of litter, to depressingly low educational standards.
    Family breakdown when you are poor isn't good. What is the evidence for the other consequences you suggest?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 279.

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

    Just to clarify headline above, no one has to get married to receive this.

    and just to be sure further quote:-

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 278.

    @85
    I do not see how this is discrimination. It is only open to couples where one person is not using their tax allowance.

    I fully support this.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 277.

    Do you lose the married couple transferable tax allowance if you have , or have had, an adulterous relationship?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 276.

    there should be no preferential treatment for married people , couples who co-habit make just as good parents as anybody else .

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 275.

    85 Spot on. Where there is shift-work to be done everyone must take the same share - whatever sort of private life they have. Your children are your children and your obligation - not your colleagues' - and you must make robust arrangements (with back-up) to make sure you can take your equal share of the nights and weekends.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 274.

    I am gobsmacked that a UK government is finally making a small step to send a message that marriage (or civil partnerships for homosexuals) matters. Family breakdown is, it seems to me, the root cause of so much British social pathology, from crime to the blizzards of litter that disfigure the UK, to depressingly low educational standards. A small step in the right direction.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 273.

    About time! Marriage is a very important institution in the eyes of God and the dangers of not entering it by hedonists cannot be overstated.

    Everyone should marry (opposite gender) but the tax allowance should only be for people that have married once.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 272.

    Sonja Shoo @85
    3 Hours ago

    "In my office 9/10 are single and reliably drudge to work every day"

    That’s quite good, Donkeys are needed for the benefit of others who want to live a balanced life.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 271.

    246.Albert
    It may be "headline-grabbing gesture politics" but its not "of no real consequence" as there will be consequences in the administrative burden which will likely far outweigh what anyone 'gets back' in value and little if any real benefit to the recipients other than perhaps a short-lived warm feeling somewhere in the anatomy.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 270.

    I agree with Nick Clegg on this one. The trouble is, many Conservative Constituency members (the ones who decide who your tory MP will be) think like this, and genuinely believe it will encourage marriage. So the pressure is on the MP's to change the law.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 269.

    Brilliant idea. It will help so many.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 268.

    Who can afford to have one partner working, whilst the other stays at home? Those with newborns might fit into this category - though my suspicion is that SMP will invalidate this; the poor won't be able to take advantage because of IDS's crackdown on benefits; the middle classes are on their beam ends since the crisis; that leaves the UMC, & landed gentry. You couldn't make it up!

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 267.

    Ths issue is not whether marriage is good for children but whether a (small) incentive via the tax system is of any relevance in promoting or supporting it. Mr Loughton said on radio 4 this morning that marriage was currently discriminated against. It is not. It just does not get preferential treatment. If it is good for children that is surely the incentive which should influence people.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 266.

    248. michellegrand
    I think you will find that Boris J won't get anything as yet again it's only aimed at basic rate tax payers. Anyway, it's only £12.50 a month which just seems pointless!

 

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