The government’s recently announced tax break for married couples has been denounced by campaigners and the Labour Party.
Under the proposals, announced in the Daily Mail on Saturday, couples in which neither pays tax at the higher rate tax payer would receive a tax break worth around £200 per year. It will apply to married couples in which one partner does not use all of their tax free allowance (the amount they can earn without paying tax) – because they are stay-at-home parents perhaps, or working only part time. That partner will be able to transfer up to £1,000 of their tax free allowance to their husband or wife, cutting the couple’s overall tax bill.
The tax free allowance will be a little more £10,000 in 2015, the BBC reports.
If approved in parliament, the break would come into force on April 2015, just weeks before the expected date of the next general election.
In a self-penned article illustrated by a photo of his own wedding,, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote:
“All we’re saying is that marriage is a good thing for our country – it’s the ultimate form of commitment under the law – and we want to show our support for it.”
He stressed that the measure would apply to gay marriage too and claimed that
“This is not about stigmatising unmarried people or single parents.”
But campaign group Don’t Judge My Family insisted that it would do just that, saying widows and widowers, single parent families, cohabiting couples, people who have left abusive relationships, and working parents would all lose out.
The group claimed:
“It’s about promoting a fantasy 1950s family and won’t go to many of the families who need support the most. In these tough times the government should be helping families, not judging them.”
Single parent family Gingerbread said the money could be better spent elsewhere. Chief Executive Fiona Weir wrote:
“Introducing a marriage tax break is a shocking waste of money. Child poverty in the UK is set to rise by a further one million by 2020. The £600 million a year that will go to just one in three married couples could – and should – be spent instead on helping families of all shapes and sizes to make ends meet.”
Meanwhile Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman tweeted about a potential side effect for men who have married more than once
“Marriage man’s tax allowance will go to man on his 3rd wife but not to first 2 wives looking after his children!”