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Tory married tax break: Hope or promise?

Nick Robinson | 17:08 UK time, Monday, 4 January 2010

Is it "I do", "I might", or "I won't tell"?

Ever since becoming Tory leader, David Cameron has promised to recognise marriage in the tax system. Ever since, he has failed to spell out what that actually means, what it will cost, and how he will pay for it.

Today in an interview, he told me that his only tax pledge was to cut inheritance tax. So I asked him: is talk of a married tax break a promise or a hope? The answer was that it was definitely a hope, but certainly not a promise.

Robinson: On the issue of a tax break for people who are married: is that a promise, or just something you hope one day to do?
Cameron: It is something we want to do, something we believe we can do, it's something, within Parliament, I'll definitely hope to do. I'm not today able to make that promise. Because today, we face a vast budget deficit [...]
Robinson: But if people want certainty, on some of these tax cuts they want - you're saying today, "I'm sorry, I can't give that certainty"?
Cameron: We're not able to give people absolute certainty on everything. [...]

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Senior Tories tell me that they have still not decided whether to spell out their policy ahead of an election, or to leave Mr Cameron's vague words to stand as they are: vague and un-costable.

There has been a long and vigourous internal debate between Tories who say that tax breaks for married couples risk alienating the growing number of unmarried couples, and those who say that they would be a clear expression of Conservative values which would show that David Cameron is willing to weather a controversy.

Fearful that Mr Cameron's remarks might be reported as downgrading his promise, the Tory leader's spokesman tonight insisted that the party would definitely recognise marriage in the next Parliament, but still refused to say how, when and at what cost.

This leaves the party open to Labour's charge that they want it all ways: able to dangle the prospect of tax breaks, without explaining to the electorate how they'll pay for them.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Surely the only thing that the Tories can promise is tax rises and expenditure cuts. The next 10 years isn't going to be a tea party for anyone thanks to the gross mismanagement of the British economy over the last 12 years.

  • Comment number 2.

    Why don't politicians just butt out of our personal lives?

    It really is as plain as that.

    There is something faintly repellant about politicians using fiscal measures to attempt to alter people moral behaviour.

  • Comment number 3.

    It would be good to see a party recoginsed the family unit and not just with tax breaks, but more general support and ideas.

    Even if given the ecomonic mess he would inherit take some time.

    labour has done everthing in it power to undermine the family unit

  • Comment number 4.

    164 previous thread

    The more I read it, the more farcical it becomes.

    A person's value to society, it seems, depends entirely on what they contribute to government.

    A tax advisor is deemed to destroy wealth and damage society because he allows a person or an entity to keep a fair portion of its income. I would suggest that for ever £1 of value that the childcare worker or hospital cleaner is putting into a pot to be shared by the entire population, the tax accountant is creating £100's of value for his clients. The government does not have a god given right to every pound we earn, and every pound that does not go to them is not wealth "destroyed".

    It is a ridiculous premise to base someone's value on, so absurd it beggars belief. Who the hell came up with this load of absolute nonsense, and how much of our tax wealth did they destroy for the privelege?

    And if we are to talk of wealth destroyers, what about the government itself? How much are we paying for the servicing of debt? For a pointless ID card system? For selling our gold ridiculously cheaply?

    Unbelievable, I don't remember ever having found an article that is so outrageously propogandist and idiotic. Who would believe this nonsense?

  • Comment number 5.

    "Ever since becoming Tory leader"

    Shouldn't that be "ever since becoming Prime Minister" Nick? ;)

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick, if you want to campaign for the Laboour Party then that is your right and I respect it - but take a sabbatical from your job, the two do not mix!

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I wish both parties would stop taking us voters for mugs.

    The nation has no more cash for anything, we should not announce ANY tax breaks and should not announce any new spending. I personally am ready for 3 years of hardship with tough spending cuts and tax rises if it means me and my children can live in a future where the noose of giant deficits and crazy inflation is not hanging around our necks!

    Neither of these two party leaders has any guts to tell it to the people straight, how depressing.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    "This leaves the party open to Labour's charge that they want it all ways: able to dangle the prospect of tax breaks, without explaining to the electorate how they'll pay for them."

    Does it really matter, when they say one thing before the election and do something totally different after they get into power?

    Plus ca change, Rodney. Plus ca change

  • Comment number 11.

    I suspect that the lack of commitment by the Opposition politicians and even from some Labour ones stems from not knowing the exact financial situation which we are in. It is very hard to plan for the future when when the here and now is just smoke and mirrors.

    Take the deficit for 2009/2010: an estimate is made, then it might be worse, or it might be better. The underlying assumptions are no better implying growth by 2009, then early 2010, now late 2010. You get the drift. And above all else the whole system (tax and social security) is a lot more complicated where todays budget sets out actions 2 or 3 years hence.

    I fear months of non debate as politicians can either lie through their teeth or be honest and not commit to pledges. What is also damaging for example is the companies only working 3/4 days a week - the fact that is mostly anecdotal shows the HM Treasury does not possess a tool to measure this type of economic inactivity. If this election campaign is going to last 5 months, does Brown have the stamina to compete with the younger Cameron or Clegg? I sincerely doubt it, remember his exhaustion before last summer's hols? Plus as a control freak he will make most of the announcements, do the interviews whilst the other parties will spread the burden.

  • Comment number 12.

    jr perry @ 158

    Thank you JR, the same to you.

    Regarding fox hunting, I hope you're right but why are we all batting it around on here, first day back, if the Conservatives aren't obsessing about reinstating it? Wouldn't surprise me if they're going to not only bring it back but make it compulsory.

    Must have come from somewhere. From David Cameron is what I'm betting - sounds like the sort of thing he'd come out with in a bid to stem the exodus of the Core (post intense Lisbon disappointment) to UKIP and the like.

  • Comment number 13.

    #9 and you expect the BBC to police itself and allow open debates
    with a election looming and cuts in the TV licence in the offing from the Tories, with increase from labour.

    expect more gerry mandering of the debates. Also there seems to be a lot of one off bloggers that have no real contribution other that suppose Labour , perhaps there shouldbe rules and quarrantine periods before a account is started and a comment allowed etc

  • Comment number 14.

    12 sagamix

    Simple. The subject of fox hunting came up because Hilary Benn decided to make an issue of it. The Tory plan to have a free vote is years old, not current news at all.

    I have no idea why you think this is (another!) David Cameron issue. Seems to me the only obession/fetishism (as you called it) in this matter is yours, with him.

  • Comment number 15.

    GHM @ 4

    Yes I take your point. Wouldn't go quite so far as to call their thing "idiotic" but I very much prefer (though I say so myself and please excuse the immodesty!) my full blown "EV minus NP" approach. You have to do the calculation from first principles for each job to see how it stacks up on the relative value scale - there are no short cuts on this one, I'm afraid. And if you do that, as you remember from last time, and just in the way of examples, Traffic Wardens score very high and Tax Accountants very low.

  • Comment number 16.

    At least DC is being honest. He can't or won't make a promise he can't keep.

    I suppose that is at least honest, if a little unhelpful.

    Compared to Liebour it is positively refreshing. No spin, no evasion, just 'I would like to...but I am not sure I can'

    Gordon would have said ' I have saved the banks, I have saved the world, ducks are better off because of me....etc' etc etc yawn

    I am still trying to figure out where his tax breaks are dangling though?

  • Comment number 17.

    When is enough enough?

    David Cameron's 1% of the population cohort already owns 70% of the countries wealth.

    Maybe they think that that is not sufficient and 'need' more, say up to 85% or some other magic number.

    How can we even contemplate a more equitable society when so much wealth is already skewed towards such a tiny percentage of the population and if the polls are to be believed, are about to elect the political arm of this seriously wealthy cohort.

    If this was the commercial marketplace and one company had 70% of the market, then Governments would act to break up that company, which had an effective strangehold on the market so does anybody think that it is acceptable for Dave and his chums to do likewise?

    This is nothing to do with 'class' or 'class warfare' because that seriously wealthy 1% comprises of people from all social strata, although it must be acknowledged that there will be a preponderence of 'old' money {however it is defined}.

    My hope is that the English people will one day wake up to the fundamental injustice of this grotesquely unbalanced distribution of wealth and strive to elect new politicians who genuinely want to see fair play in our England.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nick

    You reported on Brown and the Labour lot came after you. Now you have reported on Cameron and the Tory lot are after you.

    I sympathise. What a bunch of losers!

  • Comment number 19.

    Krystalar @9
    It does not apply to everybody just married or civil partnership couples, so single persons or cohabitants or single parent/child living in same house would not benefit from the transferable nil rate. IHT would be payable on assets worth over £312k.

  • Comment number 20.

    Looks like it'll be the manfestoes of the vagaries. Both parties will play a game of chicken over the next three months - neither prepared to jump first with spending/cutting plans - each knowing that whoever goes first gives the other side the chance to put the boot it. But Labour has to deliver a budget if the election is beyond April 5th - and so they will be forced to put their card on the table first. But they won't want to do this. March election anyone?

  • Comment number 21.

    Is there no other party than the Tories wirh a chance of replacing Labour?

  • Comment number 22.

    #17 maybe maybe not, but someone has had 12 years to address this and what have they done, attacked the poor remember the 10% okiecokie.

    Bankers and there legal taxavoidance messers no action taken there either just had the half baked IR35. And people like me are NOT in the 99% cohort that you talk about, but are under the 50K per year cohort
    which is most people.

    tax the rich like the PM doing many jobs like PM and writing books at the same time, the like of Geoffory Robinson whom can afford to give loadn of £350+ to other MP's etc , yeah tax them that would be good

  • Comment number 23.

    Not for the first time I'm with JayCon on this - pls see number 2. Don't like the idea of "recognising marriage" (either to reward or to punish) in the tax system. It brings further complexity (bad) and it smacks of "Back to the Future" moralising (ghastly). So no thank you, David, you just keep it as one of those "aspirations" of yours ... you know, like (if JR Perry is to be believed) bringing back Hunting With Dogs.

  • Comment number 24.

    #17 'How can we even contemplate a more equitable society when so much wealth is already skewed towards such a tiny percentage of the population and if the polls are to be believed, are about to elect the political arm of this seriously wealthy cohort.'

    Sour grapes?

    More equitable societies usually fail with disastrous humanitarian consequence. If only 1% are making money and making it here then the number of money makers is irrelevant as long as that money is made, increased and distributed.

    A financially successful nation creates more money and so the cycle
    continues. However, when we drive the financial success away, it is predominantly the poor who get poorer.

    To blame the rich for being rich is short sighted and needlessly resentful.

    I am not rich, but I would happily work for someone who was. It is down to each individual to improve his lot, blaming others for being successful is the socialists slow death march.

    It achieves nothing but despair and envy.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick, the piece does seem biased. And the Labour lot's policy is? ... to copy the Conservatives?

    Oh, and any comment on the fact that Labour have time to cost the Conservative policies but don't have time to run the country (ie review spending plans)? Of course you will pick that up tomorrow.

    Personally I think the BBC budget should be cut by 10% or more ... far too much duplication. An the licence fee collection/chasing system far too manpower intensive. Incorporate into tax system.

    Just to wind you up....

  • Comment number 26.

    But wait- the Tories aren’t willing to rule out tax increases, so why on earth are they talking about Tax breaks for married couples.

    Surely the Tories aren’t going to expect the rest of us to pay higher taxes to subsidise Inheritance tax reductions as well because the money has got to come from somewhere?

    What about balancing the dodgy UK accounts ledger first – surely that’s the No 1 priority.

    Nice to see the guys are going to waste valuable (sic) Parliamentary time on the ridiculous Fox hunting ban – same priorities as NooLabour.
    And while they fiddle, Rome burns.

    2010 – The year of the same old, same old .....
    Cameron or Clown – flip a coin.

  • Comment number 27.

    I always thought that Ministers and other Government representatives were supposed to tell us what their respective administrations plans were for the future.
    Going by Darling's pathetic diatribe this morning it would seem that it isn't.
    The intent now seems to be to make up imaginary policy for the opposition and then decry it as uncosted, unworkable etc. etc.
    I can well understand why Cameron is being unclear about Tory policy, Darling and Brown are seeking (desperately) good ideas they can steal.

    As someone said on the previous blog, what's the point in manifesto pledges and promises? They are not legally binding and recent history proves them to be morally unenforcable too.


  • Comment number 28.

    I wonder how many of those who criticise 'the rich' on here also faithfully hand over their £1 - or more - per week to Camelot for a Lottery ticket, in the hope of joining the much despised wealthy.

  • Comment number 29.

    23 Sagamix

    Labour recently recognised marriage and civil partnership through the tax system, i.e. the IHT transferable nil rate.

    But I only agree with the sentiment keeping marriage out of taxation, if the same should apply to children, similarily why should anyone pay taxes to allow other miscreants to make a carear out of having children such as the link pointed out by Andy on previous blog. Befor you go PC on me I have nothing against children, I have 2 and 5 grandchildren but see it as a responsibility of mine to look after them not fellow tax payers.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is no longer feasible to discriminate against unmarried couples....so it just goes to show what a load of hogwash Tory policy really is.
    What a disaster the Tories will be if they get elected.....inflation will treble, unemployment will double ,base interest rates will multiply by ten, inflation will quadruple ......if their past experience is anything to go by.
    It is so depressing to thing that dull little Engalnders will vote for such a disaster.

  • Comment number 31.

    If I was Clegg, Cameron, any other party leader or independent I would not rise to Labour games and await the announcement of the election date, to lay out my policies because anything said up to that point is going to be nicked/spun/or lied against by this bankrupt cash/ideas government.

    Where is the electoral commission in all of this 'electioneering' hold them all to account they should not be having blatant 'party political' broadcasts without it being added to the cost of their election total.

  • Comment number 32.

    Onward-ho, i dont agree. I think a tory government will be MORE OF A DISASTER than you say. A final kick in the teeth for all the working class let down by "new" labour. It will get a lot worse though as believe me, there are plenty of "im alright jacks" who will gladly vote cameron in!

  • Comment number 33.

    #30 yeah but that what it takes to get out of the Noolabour mess.

    wonder what would have happened in 79 if labour had won , given that troops were only 24 hrs from being deployed as labour was not working.

    that the consequence of 12 years profligate spending by TB+GB+CO

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry think not thing!

  • Comment number 35.

    Why should married couples get tax relief? I do agree that stable committed relationships are the best way in which to bring up children, but then any such tax relief should only be used in the context of children. Whether a couple has a committed relationship is no concern to me, but if they raise children well or badly then that affects everyone else.

    In fact, in my opinion such personal-life related tax changes should only be used in the context of encouraging the right population size - to increase birth rate when too low, and to decrease it when too high (although even this would be too much government interference for some people). And if you raise your kids to skip school then the relief should be cut.

  • Comment number 36.

    Nic what did you say to Darling this morning?.
    I noticed on TV you went right upto him after he could not answer one question from the press at that meeting.

    I hope you were not saying sorry to him!!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    This is a post I entered on your earlier blog

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    The chancellor has just unveiled what he claims is a £34bn "credibility gap" in Tory plans.

    Nick

    if they can use the civil servants to draw up Dodge dossiers why can't they conduct a spending review so that they can tell the truth about the real costs of 12 failed years?

    The real question for me is, are you the media going to protect us from all of this stupid spin by nailing the lies contain within?

    All it takes is for you to not run with the blatant lies and don't keep on forcing them down the peoples and opposing parties’ throats.

    Your question to the perpetrator should be

    WHY DO YOU NEED TO MISSREPRESENT YOUR OPPONENETS MESSAGE WHEN YOU ARE NOT BEING STRAIGHT YOURSELF?

    You could do this and kill this spin at birth but I doubt you will as you all love to run with this rubbish as I have watched for years.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE strangle such rubbish at birth this election is too important to my children's future.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    I can see that it fell on deaf ears. How can we expect to have a sensible political discourse when the Government can publish a puerile set of figures, you then chase after the Liebour hare and catch out Cameron.

    So the story is not that Labour are running a stupid dodgy dossier that is laughable, its ‘Cameron makes blunder’.

    Well done Nick you have just done a very good days work for Labour but you've done a great disservice to the electorate because you have just proved that this gutter politics is worth the effort.

    No clarity just more muddied waters to confuse the electorate.

    Well done I don't think.

  • Comment number 38.

    I want to know about Labour's spending plans / cuts. Nick why not ask them that instead of this minor issue posting.
    Why can't you get an answer out of Labour. What are they hiding. Why does Liam Byrne give such a pathetic response.
    Surely Nick we need to know Labour's plans before any judgement can be made on the other parties.
    Why oh why do you not ask. Are you afraid to ask.

  • Comment number 39.

    37 portcullis gate,
    It is stated on Stephanie Flanders blog that the IFS used the same methods, as the Labour team used, to get a £34bn hole in Cons promises and came up with a £80bn hole in Labour promises. Par for the course with this Governments forecasts.

    They are both being cavalier in their promises, but one definately more than the other.

  • Comment number 40.

    Most marrieds seem to me to be well enough off, especially on two incomes. Try paying (or even obtaining) a mortgage on one income, or heating a home, or filling up the car, or paying the TV license etc. all from one heavily taxed income as a single person beyond the age of living at home has to- it's not easy. More money for people with at least two incomes? Not fair, Mr Cameron.

  • Comment number 41.

    32. At 7:13pm on 04 Jan 2010, lefty10 wrote:
    Onward-ho, i dont agree. I think a tory government will be MORE OF A DISASTER than you say. A final kick in the teeth for all the working class let down by "new" labour. It will get a lot worse though as believe me, there are plenty of "im alright jacks" who will gladly vote cameron in!

    *************************

    Equally there are also a lot of us 'Not alright Jacks' who will gladly vote Brown out.

  • Comment number 42.

    RE my 39
    To correct, what is estimated is the cuts not hole that Labour will need to make, that is the cuts that GB does not believe, based on Labour methods in criticising Cons in 2005. The current calculation Labour uses is spurious to say the least and I am being generous there, it is full of, if they cut taxes for this and cut for that, most neither cons or any other party as said they would definately do.

    Maybe it is Labour floating ideas of their own and seeing what response it gets, if favourable they will stick in it manifesto or budget (if we get one)

  • Comment number 43.

    sircomspect @ 24

    To be perfectly clear, I am full of admiration for self-made people who are now extremely wealthy, especially if they originally came from poor backgrounds.

    What I object to is the redistribution of wealth by any Government which effectively targets the middle-income band, say the £30K-£90K cohort, simply because the seriously wealthy cohort, that is the 1% band who own 70% of the countries wealth, as politically represented by Camerons Tories, can afford to 'avoid' paying a justly proportionate share of the tax burden, whilst the £30K-£90K band are sitting (usually PAYE) ducks.

    Sometimes I have seen figures published which seem to indicate that the seriously wealthy do indeed pay their fair share but if that is truly the case, how come they still have such a large slice of the countries wealth?

  • Comment number 44.

    There seems to be an assumption that the pledge to recognise marriage through the tax system has a moral foundation; I suspect that it's economic. Statistically, unmarried couples are less likely to stay together*, and the resulting single-parent families tend to be more of a burden on the welfare state.

    * Statistically true, but cause/effect not clear - it could be that couples who are more committed and/or more religious in the first places are the ones who choose to get married. Nevertheless, politicians are aware of the studies ...

  • Comment number 45.

    43 JC wrote
    Sometimes I have seen figures published which seem to indicate that the seriously wealthy do indeed pay their fair share but if that is truly the case, how come they still have such a large slice of the countries wealth?


    Roughly speaking, the top 1% of earners account for a quarter of income tax revenues, the top 10% account for over half.

    I think the answer to your question is partly the sheer scale of their wealth (they can afford to pay lots and still have lots left) and partly the fact that wealth is not the same as income - they don't pay income tax on their assets.

  • Comment number 46.

    pdavies65 @ 44

    You say that there seems to be an assumption that the pledge to recognise marriage through the tax system has a moral foundation and that you suspect that it's economic.

    I would suggest that it is a combination of the two.

    The Tories probably think that 'decent' people get married (and are more likely to vote for them) and therefore should be encouraged.

    Whereas those in more 'unstable' relationships are more likely to be Labour voters and therefore should be encouraged, via the tax system, to do the right thing i.e. get married, vote Tory and live happily ever after.

    And the economic backdrop to all of this is that 'broken Britain/families' are a drain on the State's purse, whereas happily married people are nice steady taxpayers.

  • Comment number 47.

    JohnConstable 43

    "the 1% band who own 70% of the countries wealth"

    I think it would be a good thing if you could explain this phrase. It wouldn't be right for it to gain any currency if it isn't factual.

  • Comment number 48.

    Why can't we have the election NOW instead of having to read and listen to 5 more months of all this lying, puerile drivel from politicians of all the political parties ? Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 49.

    jrperry @ 47

    I rarely publish figures in my blog entries because we all know that that is a currency which has been almost completely corrupted by our politicians and we do not want to mimic bad behaviour, do we?

    However, you are perfectly within your rights to ask where I obtained "the 1% band who own 70% of the countries wealth".

    According to consultants AT Kearney, the richest 1pc in the UK hold some 70pc of the country’s wealth as of November 2009.

    I obtained this insight via the Telegraph financial journalist Edmund Conway in a report published on 25th November 2009, and AT Kearney themselves derived the numbers from the latest UN report on the gini coefficient

  • Comment number 50.

    46 John Constable

    A policy which overtly supports marriage would undoubtedly please the Tories' core voters, despite their general aversion to State interference. It's the Back to Basics tune, and it always gets them dancing. The problem for Cameron is that he's billed himself as socially progressive in an attempt to woo younger voters, who are incidentally less likely to opt for marriage. On this issue, Cameron wants to be all things to all people - a key weakness which Labour will try to exploit because it tallies with what many people already suspect about him.

  • Comment number 51.

    Thats a good point zydeco. However im sure its better to stick with a complete disaster (brown) rather than change to a disaster of unrivaled magnitude (eton boy). Its sad thats the only two choices :-( what a great democracy we live in with such a vast array of choice!

  • Comment number 52.

    pdavies65 @ 50

    As I understand it, the over-arching political position adopted by Cameron attempts to balance individual liberty with a corresponding social obligation by that individual to help the less fortunate.

    That in itself is dressed up by politicans and their spin doctors to be some kind of magical third way and chimes with those 'red tory' themes which you'll certainly hear a lot more of as the election campaign grinds on.

    It seems to me that this approach is truly targetted at the so-called Middle England and may well be successful in the short term but certainly will not stop Scotland and Wales departing in the near future.

  • Comment number 53.

    Nick

    Please stay focussed on the reality. The IFS says in its documentation that tired old labours current plans show:-

    Total cut required by 2013–14: £35.7bn
    Cuts already claimed, by 2012–13
    Efficiency savings: £11bn
    Tight control of public sector pay: £3.4bn
    Reforms to public sector pensions: £1bn
    Cuts to lower priority budgets: £5bn
    Additional cut claimed for 2013–14
    Efficiency savings: £1bn
    Remaining gap?
    About £15bn

    ======================================================================

    Health
    Real freeze in near cash NHS spending in 2011–12 and 2012–13

    Schools
    0.7% real increase in “front-line” schools spending in 2011–12 and 2012–13 Costs an additional £0.7bn in 2012–13

    Sure Start
    Real freeze in spending in 2011–12 and 2012–13

    Overseas Development Assistance
    Meet 2013 target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income
    Requires average real growth of 11.3%
    Additional £1.9bn by 2012–13, plus further £1.1bn in 2013–14

    Freeze means a cut in real terms.

    ===================================================================

    Over first two years 2011–12 and 2012–13
    Departmental Expenditure Limits to be cut by 3.0% a year, or £22.9bn in total ‘Front-line’ health, schools, Sure Start and Overseas Aid pledge all ‘protected’
    other areas facing average cuts of 6.4% a year, or £25.5bn in total
    severe cuts to fall elsewhere, potentially in areas such as defence, higher education, transport and housing

    All of the increase in central government spending on public services over Labour’s second and third term reversed by 2013–14
    potentially first term increases also to be reversed by 2017–18

    ======================================================================
    Higher Education cuts have been partially announced tired old labour are planning significant cuts and the other departments are really going to suffer because of protection to NHS, Education and Overseas Development.

    So when those who support GB say he has been a master of the economy just reflect on the Treasury / IFS figures above. GB lied on Andrew Marr about the economy and tired old labour are totally misrepresenting others so as to deflect any further examination of the total mess this country's economy is in.

    GB was right in a way when he said that he did bring an end to Boom and Bust; this country is now totally bust!!

  • Comment number 54.

    some of my friends are for this and some of my friends are against this...and I am for my friends.

  • Comment number 55.

    49 JC

    Thanks for the answer. Rather as one would expect, I have not had immediate success in following up your reference. I think it is behind a wall on the Telegraph site.

    The thing is, I'm rather doubting if what you wrote is correct, at least in the sense that you seem to be using it. For example, considerably over half of corporate wealth, which is a huge part of the national wealth, is held in pension funds, ultimately to the benefit of a fairly wide range of the population.

    For another example, whereas something like 70% of the UK's domestic land estate, another big part of the national wealth, is ultimately in private hands, the proportion by value that is owned by individuals in any reasonable classification of the "top 1%" is minute.

    I think the notion that 1% of the population own 70% of the national wealth, expressed without further qualification, is potentially highly misleading.

  • Comment number 56.

    51. At 9:30pm on 04 Jan 2010, lefty10 wrote:
    Thats a good point zydeco. However im sure its better to stick with a complete disaster (brown) rather than change to a disaster of unrivaled magnitude (eton boy). Its sad thats the only two choices :-( what a great democracy we live in with such a vast array of choice!

    **************************

    The problem I have is that during the Thatcher years my pay, standard of living and general well being went up. I even bought my first house at that time.
    Having said that I was also a Labour supporter - in fact I canvassed for the Labour Party during the election that put Maggie in power.

    Now how do I vote? Labour, as you say, are a disaster. The Tories might be a disaster and no other party has a hope of getting sufficient seats to form a Government.

    I am beginnig to feel that a 'hung' Parliament might be the ideal - even it is only to call a time-out on anybody making the situation worse.

    It's a quandary of regal proportions!!

  • Comment number 57.

    51 Lefty10

    Pure graffiti. Even on Labourlist, what you have written here would be dismissed as useless drivel.

  • Comment number 58.

    If the Conservatives do take over in the next election, and give married tax breaks they will definitely annoy a lot of unmarried and yes (omg) respectable couples who choose not to marry, and also confirm in many people's minds that yes, they are a backward thinking party!

    Also the move would probably benefit mostly middle and upper class people like David Cameron not single mothers and ordinary folk struggling on a low or normal income! Typical!

  • Comment number 59.

    Lots of people just don't get it.

    We may want to be rid of Brown, but that does not mean that we should sleepwalk into having Cameron. There are two scenarios:

    The present one which is "I'm not being too specific as I don't know what the situation is." Followed by "Oh dear things are worse than I thought, but I haven't got any coherent ideas on which to progress."

    Or: "On the basis of what I know, this is what I intend to do." Followed by, "Oh dear things are worse than I thought, I will alter what I said I would do."

    Even if I didn't vote for them I know which scenario I would prefer. Nick is right to challenge all the party leaders so that we can make a more informed choice. The fact that he exposes contradictions and vagueness means that he is doing his job. It is not his fault that these weaknesses exist. If a party leader is has views are justified and found to be coherent after being interviewed by Nick, there are those who would say that he was being soft on them. He can't win

  • Comment number 60.

    Seems like a good idea to encourage people to get married and for families to stay together. I think an extra £1000 a year makes domestic violence, infidelity and drinking quite acceptable. After all we got married so that we would have more money to spend on clubbing.

  • Comment number 61.

    Post 2, the Conservatives have promised to assist marriage via the tax systemn because that is what their core vote wants.
    It is a core vote that has seen a New Labour government do nothing to uphold what they consider traditional values such as marriage being between a "man and a woman" as laid out in the book of common prayer.
    A New labour government that has, in their minds, done nothing to stop family breakdown or done so very little to ensure that some absent fathers support their children and that people take responsibility for their actions and reproduction. A government that still, in their minds, supports single parent familiies over married couples and that still supports public sector paid for housing; sky dishes; alcohol and cigarettes via the benefit system.
    It doesn't matter if any of this is true or not this is what the average Conservative party member believes and this is what they are telling David Cameron.

  • Comment number 62.

    Nick,
    Why no mention of Labour's recent recognition of marriage through the tax system? Namely, the introduction of the transferable nil rate band for Inheritance Tax.

  • Comment number 63.

    Post 60, I assume from your post that co-habiting couple don't partake of domestic violence, infidelity or drinking and are paragons of moral virtue in comparison to married couples.

    The Conservatives are appealing to their core vote nothing more nothing less. The next election is going to be very expensive and unless MiLord Ashcroft has a bottomless pit of money to pay for the Tory campaign much of it will come from the blue rinse brigade that love this sort of message.

  • Comment number 64.

    jrperry @ 55

    Here is a link to the Telegraph site:

    https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/edmundconway/100002243/inequality-in-britain-is-of-developing-world-level/

    BTW. The Economist enumerates three economic categories of country, namely, developed, developing and under-developed. For the purposes of the article (link above) it is rather sad that the UK is categorised as 'developing'.

  • Comment number 65.

    The "Modern Conservatives" with its Victorian family values appears to be lining up its old scapegoat. The single Mother. A perfect excuse when they fail to fix 'Broken Britain' as they and Noel Edmonds call it. Lets incentivise people to get married even though sometimes they shouldn't ending up getting divorced or staying together for the sake of the children. Not very helpful to their ideas for fixing 'broken britain'. Which if it exists Thatcher played a significant part in creating. We should send them to a parallel earth 150 years behind ours so their new title 'Modern Conservatives' will be accurate.

  • Comment number 66.

    My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly 16 years, and don't see why a future government should be allowed to use the tax system to penalise us for not being married.

  • Comment number 67.

    65 @ 45

    "the top 1% of earners account for a quarter of income tax revenues"

    Hello PD, yes I saw that somewhere fairly recently. Got me thinking and, after that, it got me clicking away on my abacus. I "did the math" as the Cousins say and I reached a shattering conclusion. If it's true it means that the top 1% snaffle considerably more income per annum than the whole of the bottom 50% put together. Almost double, in fact. This is inequality on a heroic scale. Serfs and Lord Of The Manor stuff. On a brighter note, however, it illustrates just how much scope there is for redistribution. Enormous scope. If LOTM is getting twice the total of 50 serfs, simple algebra says that by halving his income you can double each of theirs. I'd like to repeat that because it's very exciting - by halving the living standards of just one richish individual (a deeply reprehensible Hedge Fund Manager, say) ... reducing his lifestyle from obscene to merely opulent ... we can double, yes double, the living standards of 50 (FIFTY!) Joe and Joanna Averages. Or I guess (by intuitive extrapolation) we could lift something like 1,000 people in the UK out of poverty. I know there's more to it than that, of course I do, but it's a nice thing to think about. I'm going to go and think about it again now, actually.

  • Comment number 68.

    66. At 10:59pm on 04 Jan 2010, Richard Pope wrote:
    My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly 16 years, and don't see why a future government should be allowed to use the tax system to penalise us for not being married.

    *******************

    I take it though that you're very happy for married couples to be penalised for not being single, which is the current situation.

  • Comment number 69.

    Saga @ 67

    But supposing he is not a 'hedge fund manager' but an entrepreneur running a company that employs say 1000 people. He then decides, because of your 'rich envy' policy to take his company abroad, and thus makes 1000 people redundant.
    He retains his wealth. 1000 people lose all their income.

    Some redistibution!!

    I thought the Hampstead elite had wider horizons of thought than the narrow one you demonstrate in your post.

  • Comment number 70.

    sagamix @ 67

    Extrapolating thus as you did is superficially very alluring but the 'Hedgie' target is a fiscally mobile individual and is hearing the siren calls from Zurich.

    At some threshold of fiscal pain, these extremely wealthy individuals give up on life/London and migrate to some offshore haven, if only for a few years until a more acceptable regime is installed in Westminster.

    I cannot pretend to know how to encourage these people to hand over more of their wonga to those less well off (redistribution) but I suspect that the-master-of-waste i.e. Government, has to be cut out of the loop, because if there are certain things these types hate, it is inefficiency, waste and stupidity, all hallmarks of HMG.

  • Comment number 71.

    Just seen a rather odd Tory campaign poster; a real close up and personal of Cameron's chubby chops (which is fine, he looks pretty nice) along with the slogan "We Can't Go On Like This. I'll Cut The Deficit Not The NHS".

    What?

    Total non seq. The second sentence is good, I like the second sentence - it's both catchy and relevant - so why on Earth (?) clutter it up with the immediately preceding and very naff "We Can't Go On Like This" ... that just sounds like he's about to leave the marital home or something. Grim. Almost (but not quite) as bad as "Are You Thinking What We're Thinking?"

  • Comment number 72.

    64 JC

    Thanks very much for the link.

    Unfortunately, I notice Conway shamelessly using "wealth" and "income" interchangeably, some justified scepticism in the readers' comments and nothing to counter the concerns I expressed in my 55.

    The AT Kearney article turns out to be here

    https://www.atkearney.com/index.php/Publications/a-whole-lot-less-wealthy-eaxii-2.html

    It is utterly opaque about the source material - it is, after all, merely a puff-piece for insurance salesmen - so the numbers are not to be believed in any specific sense. But it does provide the following definition of what it is that the 1% own 70% of:

    "Wealth is defined as cash, securities, pensions and unsecured debt. Life insurance policies, defined benefit pensions, and real estate and home ownership are excluded from this definition."

    I hope you will agree what a peculiar and careless definition of wealth this is. {One can only hope that in the definition, unsecured debt is used to offset assets!) I would certainly quibble with the treatment of pensions - accrued NI and employment pension rights should also be treated as personal assets (particularly because the article attempts international comparisons). Without this, the figures are quite unashamedly skewed towards enhancing the apparent relative wealth of the well-off and the apparent poverty of the less well-off. This is very significant - for example, the single person's NI old age pension is worth about £150k at current annuity rates on the point of retirement.

    Sorry to rain on your parade by selecting a particular phrase from your posts and pulling it to pieces, but I hope you will agree that the claim that 1% of the population own 70% of the national wealth depends on so many "ifs and buts" that it is effectively invalid.

  • Comment number 73.

    DHWilko 65

    I have to say, now that you have been forced to use a screen name that makes you sound like a circus performer, I find it much easier to appreciate the essential comedy of your postings.

  • Comment number 74.

    So there you have it. When is a pledge not a pledge? When it's "something we want to to" or "something I'll definitely hope to do". The only pledges we seem to have are to end inheritance tax- of benefit to only a tiny percentage of the population (the wealthiest, of course) - and to end the ban on fox hunting (now, who's involved in that I wonder. Then he has the sheer naked audacity to complain about "old fashioned class warfare".

    Truth of the matter is that Cameron will say anything as long as he thinks it'll be popular and get him votes in the election. I for one wouldn't trust him an inch.

  • Comment number 75.

    I see Ed Balls now wants all children to learn Mandarin.

    Is this because he's given up on trying to get them to learn English?

  • Comment number 76.

    Z @ 69

    "supposing he is not a 'hedge fund manager' but an entrepreneur running a company that employs say 1000 people"

    But very few rich people are genuine entrepreneurs, and very few entrepeneurs are rich. The rich are net takers and the less of them we have, the better. This is the New Way - you're stuck in tired old 2009 thinking.

  • Comment number 77.

    The ONS reports that 36,700 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2008-9, mainly due to cold i.e. not having enough heating their properties.

    Putting aside for one minute the complete disgrace that this is even happening in a so-called developed country then there must be some way of linking the extra-ordinary wealth of some individuals residing here in England to alleviating the plight of those who cannot even afford to keep warm in their homes.

    Possibly by encouraging these wealthy individuals to donate money directly to a suitable charity and using the power of patronage to ensure recognition of such munificense and if required, some subtle arm-twisting involving camels and eyes-of-needles.

  • Comment number 78.

    Cameron could easily treat all couples/relationships/parents equal but we have to stop susbidising feckelssness. How this is done could be by boosting marriage but if others cry foul,tough luck as 'others' do tend to cost the state more in the long term with the cost of care.benefits and offending.I am sick of paying for other peoples stupidity and desire to be fashionably different.

  • Comment number 79.

    Saga @ 76

    True, but don't you see that an all encompassing policy such as you suggest, would take down the 'beneficial' rich as well as those you aspire to put into humbler straits.

    When you consider how many rich people made it from poorer backgrounds, doesn't this indicate an opportunity for all who wish to take it?
    Surely an investigation into why many more choose NOT to pursue such opportunities would bring greater benefit than merely trying to penalise those who did make it?

    Or is your target really only the 'landed' gentry?

  • Comment number 80.

    sagamix 67

    "If it's true [that the top 1% of earners account for a quarter of all income tax revenues] it means that the top 1% snaffle considerably more income per annum than the whole of the bottom 50% put together. Almost double, in fact."

    Firstly, that figure from PDavies is only true because it includes practically everybody as an "earner", including my ten-year-old nephew, whose total earnings come to about £1 p.a. in bank interest.

    I would also point out that your conclusion, that the top 1% therefore earn more than twice as much as the bottom 50%, doesn't actually follow inevitably from PDavies figure, because you have to assume some sort of an income distribution in the bottom 99% and I don't think your abacus can manage that! It is, anyway, meaningless because of the point about interest-only earners.

    Still, I'm sure my nephew will be glad to know of your plans to double his earnings to £2 p.a., and so I thank you on his behalf.

  • Comment number 81.

    jc @ 70

    "Extrapolating thus as you did is superficially very alluring but the 'Hedgie' target is a fiscally mobile individual and is hearing the siren calls from Zurich"

    Well that's me all over, John, superficial. No but with the Hedgies, fine, goodbye and good luck. And on the more general point re inequality and redistribution, I do know ... know full well ... that it's a big old complex world and you can't just tax the rich to High Heaven without some spicy consequences. Solving is always more difficult than formulating, isn't it? But we DO have work to do on reducing inequality and it's good to keep it at the forefront. It's the most thing in politics for me. By miles.

  • Comment number 82.

    #65 DH, Happy New Year to you and all posters here.

    The biggest problem we face in this country at the moment is the complete lack of morals, manners, leadership, integrity and honesty of those who hold public positions of authority and power. People are fully aware of what is right and what is wrong, and that is why there is uproar at the behaviour of our current Cabinet / Parliamentarians (it was within the rules etc), the handful of Senior Banking and Business Magnates (who have made so much undeserved money that they could not spend it all in ten lifetimes), Incompetent Senior Civil Servants (billions of pounds wasted on useless projects), Senior Military Officers (I won’t even go there), Senior Police Officers (oh, its so hard on the front line – whine, whine, whine), I could go on. When was the last time one of these chimps resigned when they were caught with their pants down in the wrong bedroom or with their fingers in the till?

    Our current Prime Minister is on record as having boasted of being “the Son of the Manse”. If this is the case, why did this “Christian” man not publicly question or oppose Mr Blairs’ statements on the Second Iraq war? Why does he not openly oppose euthanasia / living wills or abortion – anathema to the truly religious? He claims to have a moral compass, but I bet it is a “Jack Sparrow compass”, it points to what he wants.

    Britain is broken because far too many of those who have risen to the top have lost sight of the duties and responsibilities that authority brings, and have replaced any such values with a culture of “me, myself and I, my rights and my cut”. These people have no other values, hence the unjustified concern with their personal “legacies” to history. This is the shocking example they have set to the younger generation.

    I don’t propose we go back to the Victorian standards of stuffing small children up chimneys and imprisoning homosexuals, we must protect the vulnerable and those who need a little help. Marriage is a personal commitment, and whilst a family life is generally regarded as the ideal, Governments should stop their outrageous social engineering and get down to the basics of sound government, not play at nanny knows best. However, those who hold authority and power must be proven to be upstanding, moral, honest, and have unquestionable integrity, whatever their political or religious beliefs. Otherwise, all is lost.

    #77 JC, good post, but there would have to be some sort of return / profit for some of these types to give a single penny away. I don’t think the promise of a place in the Kingdom of Heaven would be well received :o) You would have a lot more success with collecting from Joe Public though, remember the Tsunami fundraising efforts. Another British “Finest Hour” moment.











  • Comment number 83.

    jrperry @ 72

    Gosh, you are making me work hard to justify my assertions but that is how it should be.

    I will have to analyse the AT Kearney article (the Times also has a wealth index which may help) and get back to you but a brief glance throws up the following :

    "High-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals" are mentioned but there is no corresponding defintion of asset worth.

    "In the United Kingdom, 90 percent of the wealth is controlled by the top 2 percent of households, hyper affluents, with assets of £500,000 to £1 million."

    The lower figure £500,000 quoted for 'hyper affluents' seems to be far too low and the higher figure of £1 million likewise.

    You argue that AT Kearney's definition of wealth is peculiar and careless and that is what I will come back to, time permitting.

  • Comment number 84.

    82 feduplittlefellow " Governments should stop their outrageous social engineering and get down to the basics of sound government, not play at nanny knows best."

    Encouraging people to get married with financial incentive is social engineering. Politicians fixing 'Broken Britain' also suggests social engineering. Thatcher of course was into social demolition. The previous 18 year Conservative government had played a major part in breaking Britain. Now Cameron wants to pretend He's fixing it while really only interested in lining the pockets of his rich chums.

    JRPerry@72
    ROTFPMWL










  • Comment number 85.

    Nick Robinson:

    Tory married tax break: Hope or promise?

    Hope in theory regarding the opening remarks that you purported....

    N.B.: I am not involved in any political activity in the United
    Kingdom.....

    -Dennis Junior-

  • Comment number 86.

    #63

    Exactly my point. Can't you spot irony?

    I do not think they will gain any votes by this policy. It could have a negative effect if it became policy as it might encourage people to get married when they still have doubts. Some believe that if people are 'locked together' they will have to work through problems and 'have a stronger marriage' and hence a 'stable family'. Others wonder why a party which wants more flexibility in employment, business etc seem to want less flexibility when it comes to the family. Especially as insecurity in employment, housing and finances are major factors in family break down.

    Like many of the Tory policies - they sound good, but do not stand up to more than a nanosecong of thought.

  • Comment number 87.

    Am I detecting tory posters' growing unease at their leaders ability to, "Seal the deal" with the public?

    The only thing missing is Rockin Robin to end a post with,

    DELAY THE ELECTION!

  • Comment number 88.

    "....inflation will treble, unemployment will double ,base interest rates will multiply by ten, inflation will quadruple ......if their past experience is anything to go by."

    One of Catherine Tate's characters has an apposite riposte for this... it usually starts with a cough and is followed by "what a load of old s....."

  • Comment number 89.

    82 FULF#

    Well said, a pearl of wisdom, bouncing along atop a sea of foaming partisan blogging effluent.

  • Comment number 90.

    75. At 00:05am on 05 Jan 2010, Zydeco wrote:

    I see Ed Balls now wants all children to learn Mandarin.

    Is this because he's given up on trying to get them to learn English?

    Considering we're going to be relying on the Chinese to buy most of our debt for the next 40 years, thanks to him and his chief, its a language we'd all better become pretty familiar with, pretty quick!

  • Comment number 91.

    Uh Huh. Sit tight. The country is united in declaring that Labour has (again) ruined us socially and economically. The party who wins will have to sort out this mother of all messes.

    You don't expect the Conservatives to say (or know) EXACTLY what they would do given that this shower in power are clinging onto the cliff edge without telling them where the cupboard with keys to the power house are now do you?

    Labour have done what they can - relished - bringing in criminals from abroad, fouling up the banking and economic situation. Lefty quasi socialists with huge chips on their shoulders - with two foul leaders down from Scotland - who absolutely HATE us.

    For God's sake and ours get them out and at least give support to the Conservatives. They need US to maintain and sustain them in getting things right as they have always done before after hurricane Labour.

    Tis the only thing to do.

  • Comment number 92.

    90. Bill - well said. The only thing mandarin I will tolerate is Mandarin Jelly - velly nice.

  • Comment number 93.

    I agree with the sentiments expressed by DC here but I would go much further. We have a society predicated on the idea that single-motherdom is more important than the traditional family.

    This ideology has been the single most destructive and devastating construct ever to have hit this country since the civil war. It has bred a different kind of pseudo-family in which children are forced to grow up in increasingly less secure environments; often at the hands of selfish, immature females who treat their children as little more than dollies they play with until they get bored with them. They often treat their male partners in the same way.

    With such an ideology in force it is little wonder that grandparents are an afterthought and fathers are not even considered worth a thought (except in terms of squeezing ever more money out of them) when the traditional family itself is a dying concept. An ideology that hates the very idea of a marriage and stable two parent family because they have a gay and feminist agenda to fulfill (often, the gay and feminist agendas are one and the same thing).

    This current ideology focuses, not on the needs of the child -- that is just a smokescreen -- but on the single mum. It is HER welfare they are worried about. The whole system has been arranged to fulfill her every wish and whim. Vast amounts of cash, time, services and effort from the education system, the N.H.S, the benefits system, the housing system, the legal system, the family court system, the divorce system, the tax system, the charity sector and so on are dedicated to her welfare, security and comfort. From the moment she declares she has conceived, huge sums of money, social support, legal and medical services are at her disposal and to a degree that no other sections of our society could ever enjoy. In fact, if the money and effort spent on single mothers were aimed at child cruelty prevention the savagery that Baby Peter had to endure would be virtually wiped out in the country. She is the single most spoilt creature in the country so it is no wonder she is selfish and disinterested in getting a husband, father and extended family. She already has one: the state.

    Grand parents were and should be again, a part of that family structure we have been busy allowing politicians to destroy. The great lie today is that a new "modern family" has taken over and that we have moved on and should stop hankering after a family structure that belongs to the past. Swallow that and you condemn our future children to a cold war Soviet style future that is very bleak indeed.



  • Comment number 94.

    When we were listening to this on the radio this morning, my partner (incurable romantic that she is) asked me if I thought we should get married for tax purposes if the Tories win the election.

    I pointed out that if we were lucky, we might save a couple of hundred quid a year in married couples' tax breaks, and that the average cost of a wedding is about £15,000.

    The idea that this Tory policy that may or may not happen will somehow promote marriage is utterly laughable. It's really hard to imagine that even one couple would think that tax breaks would make the difference between getting married and not getting married. People get married for many reasons (chiefly so that they don't have to have sex any more), but tax is extremely unlikely to be one of them.

    In any case, despite all the statistics showing that children of married parents do better than children of unmarried parents, even someone with as little statistical expertise as Cameron must surely have been told by his advisers that association is not the same as causation, and that there is no evidence whatsoever that encouraging people to get married who wouldn't have done otherwise would improve anything.

    But this would-be policy (shall we call it a policyoid?) has nothing to do with outcomes for children: that's just a smokescreen. The real truth is that rich people are much more likely to be married than poor people, and the Tory party is all about helping the rich. That's the real motivation behind this policyoid.

  • Comment number 95.

    Did anyone watch Liam Byrne on Newsnight last night. If he represents Labour's forward thinking on spending plans then we may as well all give up now! What kind of fool does he and Labour take us for?
    Darling and Byrne have come up with 150 pages attacking the Tories but nothing at all about Labour's plans.
    Byrne couldn't even tell us if there is to be a budget before the election. He argued about Tory plans but could not say what Labour would do! Darling, Byrne and Brown are treating us with contempt.
    Labour are in government and have a responsibilty to the people of the UK to let us know what cuts need to be made. It seemed that Labour could not sink any further but they have. Labour are a joke!

  • Comment number 96.

    you not not have to spend 15,000 to get married, thats for labour socialites etc.

    if much more than tax breaks its a signal about the direction of the country, no more liase-fair to family and children and therefore the well being of society. The family is the atom of society break the family and you destroy society (marks or lenin said that) and then the state can exert control via the benifits systems and have a generation addicted to massive state powered interventions and control

  • Comment number 97.

    "The real truth is that rich people are much more likely to be married than poor people, and the Tory party is all about helping the rich. That's the real motivation behind this policyoid."

    Yeah, what a great, sweeping generalisation.... in the same way that the sink estate dwelling barely educated single mother type who would boff anything to get a council house by breeding and live on benefits for the rest of her days, is bound to be Labour... and Labour are all about "helping" (pardon me while I gag) the poor"

    Rich people more likely to be married than poor people... what a load of old s.....

  • Comment number 98.

    68. At 11:18pm on 04 Jan 2010, Zydeco wrote:
    66. At 10:59pm on 04 Jan 2010, Richard Pope wrote:
    My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly 16 years, and don't see why a future government should be allowed to use the tax system to penalise us for not being married.

    *******************

    I take it though that you're very happy for married couples to be penalised for not being single, which is the current situation.

    **********************

    Zydeco, perhaps you could explain exactly how married couples pay more tax than single people living together? They don't do they - you're just talking rubbish.

  • Comment number 99.

    98. At 09:05am on 05 Jan 2010, sweetAnybody wrote:
    68. At 11:18pm on 04 Jan 2010, Zydeco wrote:
    66. At 10:59pm on 04 Jan 2010, Richard Pope wrote:
    My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly 16 years, and don't see why a future government should be allowed to use the tax system to penalise us for not being married.

    *******************

    I take it though that you're very happy for married couples to be penalised for not being single, which is the current situation.

    **********************

    Zydeco, perhaps you could explain exactly how married couples pay more tax than single people living together? They don't do they - you're just talking rubbish.

    **********************************

    Got the info from my daughter and her partner who have been together for 18 years and have 3 children.
    Both are working - him full-time her part-time - joint income about £38K include tax credits etc.
    They have discussed marriage several times but acting on advice from a financial advisor, they decided that the loss of approx £1800 per annum was not worth it.
    I don't know how the figure is arrived at but it is first hand gen.

    Personally having been married for 37 years I'd recommend it to anyone. Some things go beyond monetary value. Marriage is one of them.

  • Comment number 100.

    Just taken the dog for a walk and pondering whether this is the start of Global WARMING that Gordon is trying to tax us for.

    Back to the drawing board methinks!! LOL

 

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