Lord Lawson calls for marriage tax allowance

The former Chancellor, Lord Lawson, has endorsed a marriage tax allowance in a report on taxation saying it will help families in poverty.

The former Chancellor is quoted in the Telegraph:

“It is not only family friendly but provides a far more cost-effective means of reducing the tax burden on low-income households than can be achieved by an across-the-board increase in personal allowances.”

He is wrong. A marriage tax allowance will not help many of the poorest families. It won’t help married parents making ends meet by both working full time in jobs that pay the minimum wage and it won’t help any of those families that don’t have a wedding ring – whether the parents are cohabiting or are single.

The former Chancellor, who is the father of Nigella Lawson, currently divorcing her husband due to his domestic violence, is repeating the Conservative mantra that being married is best – when for many people, including those of victims of domestic violence, it obviously is not.

If Lord Lawson managed to get his way and make the marriage tax allowance so significant it truly did provide a financial incentive to stay married there is a real concern that this would leave people staying in abusive marriages.

The proposed marriage tax allowance will give £150 to the Tories ideal married couple – one that has a “breadwinner” and a “homemaker” at an estimated cost of £550m. We’re currently running an evidence giving session asking how £550m could be better spent on helping families. We’d like to know what you think.