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 425.

    Male seeks female: N/S; GSH; pet lover; transferable tax allowance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    Tax breaks are the only honourable thing our warmongering government has ever done. But. why do they stop here, why not give tax breaks to us all, are we all not equal, are we all not individuals?

    What gives the government the right to tax some and others less, and some not at all? I vote to say no every chance, do they change? No.

    If taxing 100% my income is theft, at what % is it not theft?

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    Re 421--I thought you might be more interested in the Civil Unions..........
    Not sure what complaining to a Bishop has to do with tax-breaks for married people, but I'm sure you can explain.
    As so many on this site have said, marriage is the road to what all sane folk aspire to : the Holy Grail of HAPPINESS. Without that, we can become bitter and lose sight of the joys of life. Peace & Joy Xx

  • Comment number 422.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 421.

    Civil unions should all be treated as contracts, an agreement between consenting adults.

    "Marriage" is an institution of a private club: a church. If it meets the criteria of a contract, fine, it is binding. If a particular private church won't permits gays et al to "marry", that's their prerogative. If you want that church to "marry" you, complain to the Bishop, it's not a political matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 420.

    "But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called the proposals "patronising drivel that belong in the Edwardian age"."

    Careful Nick. Cameron and Osborne are big fans of the Edwardian age.

    They enjoy nothing more than donning their Edwardian tailcoats for drunken, boorish nights out with their chums from The Buller.

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    The admin will cost? Like calling people in once a week to job centres, while the jobs still aren't available, a convincing appeal to tory prejudices and political guestures. Wouldn't it be nice if we had sensible thinking?

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called the proposals "patronising drivel that belong in the Edwardian age".

    Well, at least that's some improvement on the Victorian age, which is where all this Government's other policies seem to be leading us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    Re: 414.Harmony "People get so much more if they live together are are not married. Its simply not fair"

    Hmm, what do we get more than married couples? Tell me please because I haven't a clue what you're on about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 416.

    Re 412----gosh, that was interesting. And so relevant to the whole issue of tax breaks for married people.....................................

  • rate this

    Comment number 415.

    The single person seems to get kicked down time after time.

    I appreciate they received single persons Council Tax discount, and if on Housing Benefit, and obviously only a single income is taken into consideration, but the cost of living is much more affordable for a couple than a single person.

    Rather than a 'Marriage Tax Break' I'd much rather see more assistance for single people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    People get so much more if they live together are are not married. Its simply not fair, its about time married couples had some benefit. Its not much but to those looking at getting married its better than nothing when they will lose a load of other hand outs. It shouldn't be about money but it all helps, so well done torries for standing by your promise so far even if you get stick for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    My partner and I have been together for over 5 years and have 2 kids, and because we're not married we wouldn't get the tax break. Not really sure what it's for - services to the wedding industry?

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    When he was at school, he was told the sex ratio was 50%.He has just been studying the ratio, and in most countries the ratio was 105 men to 100 females. At school he learnt about x and y chromosomes,and it is like tossing a coin,over an average it will be 50%.So why are more males born.This does not account for Gay males which is between 5-10%.So why are more males born?

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    This seems like a good idea, a bit of flexibility in tax arrangements to support married couples.

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    People get married have children, and rather than both going out to work, one stays at home. At that point a married person's tax allowance is fantastic, people who go out to work would receive tax credits anyway.

    In later life families then hopefully look after each other and reduce the burden that otherwise the state would pick up. The costs have to be viewed in the long term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 409.

    For those of us in our fifties and onwards where one partner has had to give up work due to ill health this could be helpful. It may be very beneficial as retirement age increases, too old to work and to young for a pension. 12.00 a month is still a lot of money to some of us. I fully support this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    Re 407----I'm finding myself agreeing with the vast majority here. Lord raiden is quite right IMHO to highlight the importance of marriage. For adults and children alike, it is the true path to what all sane people aspire to : HAPPINESS.
    Govt Tax Breaks are nonsense in that they would be far better off not interfering with a happy & private union----and HELP THE POOR INSTEAD !

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    People talk about "marriage being unimportant", but actually that is categorically untrue. Marriage *is* important. For a start, it's the best basis for raising children; I appreciate that not everyone can do this and it often isn't their fault etc., but still, this remains to be the case. We should encourage things that are beneficial & generally brings more stability for kids, surely?

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    Re 404---good comments and I agree. People will, hopefully, never get married for a small tax-break---they do so because of love and happiness.
    Also, I agree with the comment about the issue of children which is oft overlooked in the debate.
    Marriage is a great institution when right choice=happiness ( which is the magic goal , the Holy Grail of Man/Womankind). Govt has no right to interfereXx


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