Plans for marriage tax breaks to be published 'shortly'

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

Related Stories

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."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    ".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."

    This can't be right - what about making work pay - why shouldn't a low earning spouse be able to transfer as well ?

    The trouble with all this is further complexity / rearranging deckchairs - give with one hand and take away (e.g. child ben) with the other

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    Yes sometimes, but not one that dumps costs onto others"

    Except it's the children of other people that will care for you, provide public and private services you need, keep the economy going to ensure your pension is worth something and to pay taxes in your old age. Others sacrifice more than their lifestyle and that precious asset known as time that you don't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    Cameron has no understanding at all about the authentic nature and purpose of marriage. He will do more harm to marriage by conflating homosexuality and physical, factual marriage within legal "marriage" than he will help it with these facile bribes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    Another piece of bad judgement by Mr Cameron.

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.


    Everyone who pays in should get something out of the benefits system

    Not exactly why it was set up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    £150 a year - well I suppose it will pay for dinner for two to celebrate an anniversary (if we're modest with the wine).

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    Can I have multiple wives so that all of my earnings are tax free?

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    19 Minutes ago

    3 Hours ago

    No they are not !!!!!!!
    Ah! The extra exclamation marks for added gravitas, well done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Boz Scaggs - totally agree!! In same boat! not married but still treated as partnership (fair enough) but where is the help? My partner working sporadically but completely on our knees financially because his earnings are up for a while then nothing.......benefits systems can't give us diddly squat but no tax breaks!! We can't we the only 2 couples in this situation

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    I agree with Nick.

    "patronising drivel that belongs in the Edwardian age".

    Everyone who pays in should get something out of the benefits system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    Goes against evrything these guys have been harpening on about - suddenly when they relaise they have gone too far want to caputure a few votes - why should single people, widowers be penalised-if they had brains they would tax the bonus claimed by the city bankers and multi-millionare -surly it is not beyond GO to coin a few sentences together

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    alex the kid
    "And being single isnt a ifestyle choice?"

    Yes sometimes, but not one that dumps costs onto others

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    Am I missing something? This isn't about people who are married versus those who are is more about those who are married but only one worksn(versus those who both work). Most young couples (married or not) have to both work to make ends meet therefore would not meet the criteria of one of the couple not using their tax free allowance and being able to transfer it to the other.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    3 Hours ago

    No they are not !!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    I do not see why this only for lower rate tax payers. I have not had a pay increase for 3 years, and have seen a reduction in earnings from 5 years ago. I pay more tax, I do not get Child benefits & it seems will not get the new married persons allowance.
    None of my bills have reduced, they all go up. The middle class workers who have historically lived within their means are being hit yet again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    Personally, my wife and I got by without this and having it wouldn't have been the deciding factor in whether she gave up work to look after the kids. Now, we wouldn't get it and won't in retirement either so don't think my taxes should be used to fund a tax break we didn't get nor need.

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    If you claim benefits in this country you can see any payments you would get as a single person vanish if you live with, not marry or civil partner, just live with a girlfriend, bye bye your payment.
    Similarly, if you marry or enter a civil partnership should you not be taxed, have a portion of you potential earnings removed for being in a partnership of any kind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    This is just a tax on the single and lonely. Couples can live together more cheaply than singles. The tax breaks should be given to people with children regardless of whether they are married or not!

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    can any supporters of this policy point to any evidence that a tax break of £12.50 permonth will either persuade couples to marry or if the marriage is on the rocks make them stay together? Also it's a bit tough on Widows and Widowers. It's a brave MP who votes for this and playsd away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    We'll have to wait for the details but £150 a year? Really? Less than 50p a day? While happily unmarried myself I can't see why those who do choose to marry should not be entitled to transfer ALL their tax allowances to their partners (male, female, straight, gay, whatever) if one of them chooses not to work but run the household - or pursue other non-earning lifestyles.


Page 7 of 22


More Politics stories



  • FridgeCool customer

    The village that has just got its first fridge

  • Lincoln Perkins (in the middle of the image) carried Churchill's coffin with seven other menNear miss

    How pallbearers almost dropped Churchill's coffin

  • Josef Mengele in SS uniformThe twins of Auschwitz

    How a Nazi doctor experimented on identical siblings

  • Alok'Red market'

    The desperate patients in India turning to illegal blood donors

  • Bank House, 27 King Street, LeedsIn pictures

    Some of the office buildings new to the National Heritage List

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.