Does the PM get it?

At PMQ today the Prime Minister stated that the marriage tax allowance was “available to every basic rate tax payer“.

Despite spending £700m on marriage tax allowances, the Prime Minister didn’t seem to understand his own policy.

Only married couples (or people in civil partnerships) that have a basic rate income tax payer and a non tax payer would benefit – that’s less than a third of all married couples and just 1.4 million married couples with children.

Married couples who both pay basic rate tax or both don’t earn enough to pay tax won’t benefit. So a married couple who both work full time on the minimum wage wouldn’t get any help.

The marriage tax allowance won’t help the many families who need it the most including single parents, widows and widowers, cohabiting parents and working married parents.

Even proponents of the marriage tax allowance accept it won’t encourage people to marry or stay married. Maybe the details aren’t that important as it’s actually an expensive signal rather than a genuine attempt to help families.

We think the  the Government should be spending £700m to help families, not judging them. If you have any better ideas on spending £700m please let us know.