Link to Original Article
David Cameron is committed to recognising marriage in the tax system but he has not told us how he intends to achieve this. The most obvious thing to do would be to allow transferable tax allowances for married couples.
But, according to Treasury figures, this would cost £4.9bn a year – an impossible sum in today's climate – which is why Cameron appears to have ruled out this option. He needs to find a cheaper way of implementing his pledge. And today a Tory thinktank has provided him with an option.
The Centre of Social Justice, which is run by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, is urging Cameron to limit the transferable tax allowance to married couples with children under the age of three.
The CSJ originally proposed transferable tax allowances in its landmark 2006 report Breakdown Britain, but today, in a green paper on the family, it says that it would be unrealistic to expect a Conservative government to implement the policy immediately.
In the long term we recommend the implementation of a transferable tax allowance for all married couples, but in the current financial climate we recommend a staggered implementation. We believe that as a priority, a transferable tax allowance should be introduced for married couples with children aged 0-3, the formative years of a child's life.
The CSJ says limiting the tax break to families with children under three would cost just £600m. That's still quite pricey, but it's a lot cheaper than £4.9bn. The CSJ says it would be worth an extra £20 a week to some couples.
"We do not believe that this will incentivise marriage, nor should it, but it may encourage more couples to make the transition from cohabitation to marriage and thereby increase the stability of their relationship," it claims.
The "Marriage Tax" has now become a staple pleadge of the Conversative Parties election campaign. To their credit, they did make it clear that it was to cover Civil Partnerships as well as Marriages as reported here but this still does not explain why they are determined to push through such a massively expensive tax break when the country is on it's knees with debt.
Do people really need to be paid to get or stay married? Is marriage even that great a thing int he grand scheme? The Tories think so.