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 325.

    Seriuosly without families

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    So after all this knee jerk reaction I wonder if the Tories will work out that learching to the right for UKIP (ex-tory supporters mostly) will alienate the 'undecided' voters who really decide the election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Each person is entitled to a tax allowance, and how they use that allowance should be down to them, If they wish to use it in conjuction with their partner so be it, if you dont have a partner thats your choice. It used to be that there was a married mans tax allowance, but that was back in the days when married women werent expected to work, but nowadays they are expected to work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    Where is the incentive for a married person to work long hard hours to support their family??? If you push yourself into the 40% tax bracket it's assumed you are rolling in it therefore you loose your child benefit, and nor will you be able to benefit from your partners tax allowances.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    304.Total Mass Retain
    I don't deny other people's childrens' taxes will provide services I need further down the line, just as my taxes pay for what those children use now.
    Not eveyone who's single is so through choice. I am now but would rather not be. No children as they didn't happen for me, not through choice. I also sacrifice time through voluntary work to help others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Marriage is a corrupt system which forces huge expense & time on people to escape abusive or attrocious relationships.
    The ONLY people to benefit from marriage are clergy solicitors & judges, it keeps them employed on high salarys.

    This is basically a voter buy off, using ALL taxpayers money to butter up a few, it is nonsensical, unjust, unfair. Being married does NOT turn a nasty person nice

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Two people live cheaper than one. So financial benefits already exist to get married rather than further increasing that divide by thrpough the tax system. If people get married to benefit from tax breaks then surely that is making a mockery of the insituttion that the pro-marriage lobby claims to protect

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    It doesn't matter if you are eligible or not for this measly "tax break".

    £150 isn't going to make much difference, when we're all already paying through the nose to correct the mistakes of bankers via stealth taxes such as the petrol surcharge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Noone believes people have kids to keep the economy going and provide services to others. They do it because they want to and get some pleasure/ joy from it"

    And these two goals are entirely compatible with one another. The human desire to have children results, when done well, in a sustainable society and economy. Too many or too few children & the system will collapse. You still benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    Where do we eat out? Any number of restaurants in central London. And no, we don't need the money - but this is a tax allowance, paid to married couples, so it will come to us.

    312's post: 300: Wherever do you go out to eat? If you think that £150 will just about cover the cost of a dinner for two it sounds to me as if you are exactly the sort of person who doesn't need the money in

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

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

    If we all expected to get more out of the system than we put in then the system would fall apart very quickly. Personally I'm very thankful to have put far more in that I needed to get out. I might need it myself one day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    304. Total Mass Retain
    “Others sacrifice more than their lifestyle and that precious asset known as time that you don't.”

    Noone believes people have kids to keep the economy going and provide services to others. They do it because they want to and get some pleasure/ joy from it. If they do it for the economy this is hopelessly depressing and immoral, and certainly shouldn't be subsidised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    And us cash cow single people are once again marginalized and victimized to pay for others.
    Why the hell should I be paying ridiculous taxes when the government offers me nothing back, can't house me because I'm "not a priority", and just uses me as a money making tool for married couples WHO ARE ALREADY FINANCIALLY BETTER OFF!
    This country makes me sick to my stomach.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    300: Wherever do you go out to eat? If you think that £150 will just about cover the cost of a dinner for two it sounds to me as if you are exactly the sort of person who doesn't need the money in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    I keep seeing posts about marriage being good for children. marriage has NO influence in how stable a child's up bringing is, a happy and secure family is what makes a difference. And anyway who are the government to "value couples and the commitment that people make when they get married"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    281. lizmcp
    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.
    Of course you would. You be renting (not very secure), you could have the money you received slashed by politicians scoring points, everybody would look down their noses at you for being a scrounger and you'd have 3 kids!

    Better off? doesn't sound it to me

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    When did prejudice become ok ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    This is ludicrous.

    I oppose this initiative for two reasons. 1) I am unmarried and utterly fail to see why my married colleagues deserve a tax break when I do not. 2) Marriage is not a good institution. My mother and father were married. That did not stop my father abusing my mother and I, it simply made it more expensive and time consuming to leave the bar steward behind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    301. treacle_01

    You're right, but it's now many years later and we all know that at the extremes some pay a lot in and take nothing out, others pay nothing in but see it is their right to take as much out as possible.

    I'm all for paying in so that those who need it can get what they need in times of trouble.

    A universal credit would mean we are all in it together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    I get fed up with all this "Some people are entitled to this, and some that." Why can't we just have a simple tax system, end of! It's stupid things like this that keep certain groups of people above others.
    Single people get sweet fa. Can't afford housing but can afford a landlords mortgage and his bonus. Where's the help for those that really need it!


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