Case studies

The marriage tax allowance discriminates against single parents, working mums, widows and those who choose not to get married. Look at some of the families who are discriminated against here. If you’re a journalist and would like to speak to one of our case studies featured below, contact us. Or, if you’d like to feature as one of our case studies, get in touch!

Helen’s family

Helen is a widowed parent struggling to bring up her baby daughter and create a financially and emotionally secure environment for her to grow up in. She believes the marriage tax allowance is an insult to families like hers and doesn’t value the reality of family life today.

Helen says…

“My husband died of a brain tumour at thirty three years old leaving me as a young widow and the sole carer for our eight week old daughter. It has been an uphill struggle bringing my daughter up alone, I had to return to work full time whilst still immersed in grief. I work hard to support my small family, running my own business and working every evening until late while my daughter sleeps to bring in an income. I have no plans to re-marry or re-partner at present as I am still in love with my husband and caring for my daughter is my only priority. It is vitally important for me to create a stable, ‘normal’ environment for my daughter and myself after the trauma we’ve experienced. We just want a quiet life and to be considered the same as other families.

David Cameron’s marriage tax allowance harks back to an era now gone. I don’t see why this nuclear family, an unrealistic representation of families today, should be rewarded. These few families are able to afford the luxury of having one person be a home-maker, while the other works, usually earning a good income. In my family I am both the bread-winner and the home-maker, I work hard, pay my taxes and am a great parent, and yet I am disregarded by this policy.

The marriage tax allowance feels like a slap in the face. According to Mr Cameron’s rules, it feels like my relationship meant nothing and has no standing in his society. My daughter and I are discriminated against, as we are not classed as a ‘proper family.’ It’s not about the money, although it would be useful. The amount of people that would be entitled to it is so small that it’s an empty gesture, which just adds insult to injury. It’s about the fact that under this scheme, my lovely family of two doesn’t count. It just feels like one more thing stacked against us at a very difficult time. With the proposed slashes to the widowed parents allowance on the horizon as well, it seems like the newly bereaved with kids are potentially in for a rough ride.”

Nadia’s family

Nadia and her partner have been together for thirteen years and live with their two sons. They believe that the marriage tax allowance says that their relationship is not as good as a couple who is married.

Nadia says…

“I’ve been in with my partner for thirteen years and we have two wonderful sons but we are not married. We both work hard to make sure our children have everything they need and getting married wouldn’t change the strength of our commitment for each other and our children. I wish we could afford for one of us to be a stay at home parent, but we can’t as we have a mortgage and bills to pay just like everyone else. A few extra pounds a week, if we got married would not make any difference and would not be enough for one of us to stop working!

Not only does the marriage tax allowance suggest that my relationship is somehow less important than a married couple’s relationship, but it is also unfair on those who are single, divorced or widowed.”

Sarah, Single Mum

Sarah is a writer and Mum of 3 from Croydon. Her son, William, has physical disabilities, mild autism and had a bowel transplant when he was young. The daily ordeal of medication and lifetime of living with disability has a huge impact not just on William, but on his sisters Hope and Ellie too. It was all too much for William’s Dad, who left. William can’t understand why people whose parents are still together would get an extra £150 a year when his Mum who is doing her very best for him would lose out.

Mike and Bridie, unmarried parents-to-be

Mike and Bridie met in 2007 and have been together ever since. They thought really seriously about getting married, speaking to family and the local vicar.  They concluded that their stability as a couple is not dependent on a marriage ceremony or certificate and chose to not take that route.

For a couple of years Bridie didn’t work and Mike was the sole bread-winner while Bridie managed their home – they often laughed at the irony of their not being married despite the very ‘traditional’ way in which they living. Expecting their first child in February, they are increasingly frustrated at the inconsistent way in which the tax and benefits system treats them and the inferences that are implied about their ability to be stable and good parents.

Mike says “The government is happy enough to consider us a stable couple when it comes to child benefit or job-seekers allowance, meaning that we were on our own when Bridie was out of work and won’t get any financial support to look after our baby because I work hard. When it comes to taxing us, suddenly we are not ‘married’. I don’t understand the difference? Frankly, it’s discriminatory!”

Bridie says “We’re so excited about our baby and don’t see the difference between us and people who are married. It is disappointing that our government continues to seek to force us into marriage to be recognised as ‘good’ parents and responsible members of society worthy of being rewarded. It seems a little medieval!”

Nora, Elliot and Reuben

Nora and Elliott married a year before Roo was born. They have both swapped back and forward with work, study and childcare many times since then.

“We’re eligible, but we’re no more deserving than a couple who isn’t married, or who both work. We’d rather the money was spent on kids who need it most. I really want to give David Cameron a piece of my mind. I thought we might post it back to him, but actually, I’ll give it to someone who deserves it. Charity.”

Esh, part time teacher, full time mum

Esh is a part time teacher, full time mum. Since the recession hit her husband’s business, she has gone back to work to help make ends meet.

“We both believe very strongly in the institution of marriage. I would have been eligible 6 months ago. But I have to work part time to be able to afford the basics for the boys. They’re at that age where they just won’t stop growing! But does that mean I’m a bad Mum? Quite the opposite, I think.”

Imogen Disu, Widow

Imogen’s husband Adie died in 2006 – making her one of the 8,351 people under 50 widowed each year.

She says “The marriage tax allowance sends a signal to widows – your family doesn’t deserve support like a ‘proper’ family made up of a married couple. I know from my own experience, losing your husband is losing enough, without the Government penalising you for no longer being married.”