Tax break for married couples an ‘utter flop’ claim Labour
February 15, 2016 1 comment
A Labour minister has described the Conservative-driven tax break for married couples as an “utter flop” after new figures revealed that only 330,000 couples had applied since April.
The tax break is available to married people or those in a civil partnership who earn less than £10,600 per year – the current ‘personal allowance’ on which no income tax is payable. If they do not use all of this allowance because they do not work or only work part time, they can transfer part of this tax free allowance to their partner, reducing the couple’s overall liability for tax by a maximum of £212 per year. The recipient spouse cannot be a higher rate tax payer – i.e. earning more than £42,385.
Tory MPs had campaigned for the tax break since the election in 2010, claiming it would encourage couples to marry rather than simply live together. The break was eventually introduced in April last year, amidst predictions that as many as four million couples would apply. The actual figure of 330,000 represents just eight per cent of those eligible, the Telegraph reports.
Now Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth, the Show Minister without Portfolio, has dubbed the modest take-up “embarrassing” and evidence that a “flagship policy has been a “complete and utter flop”.
“Labour has always said that the Tories’ marriage tax allowance is perverse and unfair. It’s a benefit that doesn’t go to the vast majority of families, doesn’t go to widows and doesn’t go to people who have been left by an abusive husband. It’s clear the Tories need to rethink this whole policy.”
Meanwhile, Tory MP David Burrowes called for an extension of the tax break, saying it should be “more generous and more targeted at couples with young children“.
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