Today the Liberal Democrats, longtime critics of the marriage tax allowance, have joined the Labour party in confirming they will scrap the tax break and use the money to actually help families by funding extra childcare.
Nick Clegg has been a frequent critic of marriage tax breaks. Despite this he committed Lib Dem MPs to abstaining at a vote which allowed Conservatives to win the vote and therefore introduce marriage tax breaks.
The marriage tax allowance will only go to one in five families with children – those with two parents who are married and where one doesn’t work (or doesn’t pay tax) and has been widely criticised for trying to stigmatise unmarried, divorced and widowed parents.
Last year Don’t Judge My Family held a call for evidence – asking people, organisations and academics for better ways of spending £700m (the estimated cost of the marriage tax break). Childcare came out top, along with providing relationship counselling, flexible working hours and helping couples make a will.
Julianne Marriott, of campaign group Don’t Judge My Family, said: “We’re really pleased to hear the Liberal Democrats have publicly announced they’ll be scrapping the marriage tax allowance. However if they had voted against, rather than abstaining, earlier this year there would be no marriage tax allowance to scrap. What we’d really like to hear is that the marriage tax allowance is a “red line” issue for the Liberal Democrats – one which they would not be willing to compromise or abstain from if they form a coalition Government in 2015.”
The Prime Minister announced a “family test” for new Government policies this week. His used his speech to affirm his belief in the importance of marriage and marriage tax breaks, but also praised (some) single parents, conceded that marriage might not be for all and acknowledged that in cases of domestic violence safety was more important than a family staying together.
The Guardian headlined their article with “Parents separating can sometimes be best for children“.
“Whereas the Telegraph went with, “Nothing matters more than family“, with no reference to single parents, domestic violence or co-habiting.
Which seems to show that PM can make one equivocal speech and sit back and watch the newspapers sell it to their readers…
It’s August. And in lieu of announcing anything new the Prime Minister has decided to return to his (and much of the media’s) favourite homily – other people’s families.
In a speech today the PM said that a ”family test” was being “formalised as part of the impact assessment for all domestic policies”, reminding us of previous announcements about government policies on shared parental leave, increasing health visitors and speeding up the adoption processes.
There wasn’t, however, a reference to how existing legislation, such as the spare room subsidy (aka the bedroom tax), would fare under this test.
Mr Cameron also committed to continuing to spend £7.5m a year on relationship counselling, call it a “fantastic investment” by creating £11.50 return for every £1 spent. Strange then to only spend 1% of the £700m a year cost of marriage tax breaks on counselling.
We heard again that marriage tax breaks were a “strong signal that we back marriage”. However they wouldn’t lead to ”people deciding to get married for a few extra pounds.”
But, perhaps not wanting to alienate all those voters who aren’t married, Cuddly Cameron slightly tempered his usual moralising saying: “And we certainly shouldn’t judge people who feel marriage isn’t for them”.
We also heard “let’s also be absolutely clear about the truly inspirational single parents” and “that there are some couples for whom splitting up is the right thing in the circumstances”.
And, as many of us have been vociferously pointing out the PM acknowledged: “there are also cases of domestic violence where what matters is making sure people are safe, rather than keeping a family together”.
Julianne Marriott of Don’t Judge My Family said: “The Government is telling us that their policies will have to pass a “family friendly” test while they plough on with plans to spend £700m a year on marriage tax breaks which will go to fewer than one in five families with children but spend just £7m a year on relationship counselling.”
Don’t Judge My Family has proposed 24 better ideas for spending £700m than on marriage tax breaks.
Happy Fathers Day to all our friends and followers out there! Hope you have a great day!
The marriage tax break only goes to Dads who are married, and work, while their wives stay at home. (Or the few Dads whose wife works and he stays at home.) Because that’s how this government thinks families should be – married, with a breadwinner and a homemaker.
We think that’s not just old-fashioned but downright judgemental! Great Dads, just like great families, come in all shapes and sizes. In these tough times, the government should be helping families not judging them.
If you agree with us, sign up to our campaign.
Sir Paul Coleridge, the “outspoken judge” who set up the Marriage Foundation was interviewed on the Andrew Murnaghan show on Sky News this morning, saying why he was speaking out about marriage. He criticised cohabiting couples and the impact family breakdown has on children.
We think that people like him should stop judging families and start coming up with ideas on how to help them. In fact, we think that the £700m which is earmarked for the marriage tax allowance (worth £150 a year to 1/3 of married couples) could be much better spend, and have lots of ideas on how. Great families come in all shapes and sizes and a marriage certificate is neither here nor there.
Our campaign director, Julianne Marriott, responded to his claims on Sky News. We’ll post a video when it’s up.
Tell us what you think – contact us!
Today the married couples tax allowance passed a vote in the House of Commons.
We are very sad to hear this news because we believe that great families come in all shapes and sizes, and the government has no right to judge whose relationship is best. The marriage tax break is designed to promote the Prime Minister’s “fantasy fifties family” which is completely out of touch with how people live their lives today. It discriminates against the one in four children who grow up in a single parent family, widows and widowers, couples where both work, couples where neither work, cohabiters, and single people. The tax break only goes to a third of married couples – those with a breadwinner and a homemaker. In fact, most of these couples don’t have children, and many are pensioners.
The measure is due to be introduced in April 2015.
We will post news of the next stage of our campaign soon.
Today the married couples tax allowance will be debated in the House of Commons. The latest predictions are that the Conservatives will vote for the measure, whilst Labour will oppose it. The Liberal Democrats have been allowed to abstain: even though they hate the policy, it was in the coalition agreement. We hope as many Lib Dems as we know oppose the measure will vote against and defeat the government’s attempt to judge how we live our personal lives.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Julianne Marriott, Campaign Director of Don’t Judge My Family, the campaign against the marriage tax allowance, said “The government wants to turn the clock back by promoting a fantasy fifties family with a breadwinner and a homemaker. Those who do not vote against the marriage tax allowance are passing judgement on the one in four children who grow up in a single parent family, widows and widowers, couples where both work, couples where neither work, couples who cohabit, and of course, single people. The government has no right to tell us how to live our lives.”
Happy Mothers’ Day to all our friends and supporters. We think our Mums are fab. But what makes them fab is how they make us laugh, support us when we’re doing silly things, and cheer for us when we succeed. Not whether they’re married or not. Today we’re celebrating Mums from all types of family – cohabiting, single, widowed and married – because all Mums are special. Not just those who are married.
Today the Chancellor demonstrated his acting skills by announcing that he was proud of the marriage tax break. It’s well known that the Chancellor does not support the transferable tax allowance.
However he did say he was proud that the tax break would help four million families. But what he didn’t do was refer to the over eight million married couples who wont’t get a marriage tax break. And that’s because they don’t have a fantasy fifties marriage with a breadwinner and homemaker.
The Chancellor also didn’t mention that fewer than one in five families with children will get the allowance. Or that some of the poorest families ,with single, widowed or cohabiting parents, won’t get any help either.
The Chancellor also made no reference to the cost of the tax break – which will now probably be over £700m.
If the Government really wants to help families they could take a look at our 24 better ideas than a marriage tax break.
“linking the rate of transferable tax allowance for married couples to personal allowance so will raise to 1,050 which will help 4m families they will take abut we are proud to provide.
There’s a letter in the Telegraph today from politicians and others arguing that the marriage tax break (to be confirmed in Wednesday’s budget) should be extended to all married couples. Currently, it would only go to a third of married couples: those who fit the government’s “approved type” with a breadwinner and a homemaker. The cost to the taxpayer of the government’s moralising will already be £700m a year – more than the bedroom tax saves. Trebling it would take the bill to over £2 billion, which is about the same amount of money as the Department for Energy and Climate Change spends each year!
Julianne Marriott, Campaign Director of Don’t Judge My Family said “at £700m, the marriage tax break is already a huge waste of money – in these tough times, the government should be helping families, not judging them. Arguing that £2bn should be spent on ‘sending a signal’ about how we choose to live our lives shows just how out of touch they are.”
Extending the tax break to all married couples would mean that a very wealthy married couple would get the tax break but a cohabiting couple struggling to make ends meet would not. And it would still discriminate against all single parent families, widows and widowers, cohabiting couples and single people.
We ran a call for evidence about how the £700m could be better spent. You can see the top 24 ideas here.