David Cameron wants to ‘extend’ tax breaks for married couples

Wedding cake with toppersFurther tax breaks for married couples could be announced “over time”, Prime Minister David Cameron has declared.

Speaking on the eve of an autumn budget statement likely to feature details of the much discussed transferable tax allowance for married couples, the Prime Minister told reporters that the move was  the move was only “the start of something”.

“We will be making this change to back marriage in the tax system. It’s a change I strongly support. It’s very similar to what we set out in our manifesto. It’s something I have long wanted to do so I am pleased we will be achieving it. I believe in marriage, I believe marriage should be recognised in the tax system. I see this as, yes, a start of something I would like to extend further.”

The tax break, favoured by prominent Tory MPs, is expected to be worth up to £200 per year. Spouses who earn less than their personal allowance (the amount of income they can earn without paying tax) – for example, stay-at-home parents – will be able to transfer the unused part of their allowance to their working husband or wife, cutting the couple’s overall tax bill, provided both pay tax at the basic rate.

The Don’t Judge My Family campaign actively opposes tax breaks for married couples, arguing that the plans exclude many types of family. It claims:

“There’s no evidence that marriage tax breaks will encourage couples to marry or stay married (or that we a Government should encourage people to marry) and it discriminates against married couples who both work, separated and single parents, widows and widowers and couples who cohabit. Only one in five families with children will get the tax breaks.”

The campaigners suggest various ways of spending the £700 million reportedly dedicated to the scheme which would, they claim, “help all families”. These include investments in childcare, reversing £430 million in cuts to the Sure Start family support scheme, and providing free relationship counselling.

Photo by Julie Elliott via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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