Marriage tax break: Good start despite PM’s ‘game playing’

A marriage tax break announced by the Prime Minister last month is “political game playing” but a step in the right direction, a leading pro-marriage group has said.

David Cameron revealed plans for a marriage tax break worth up to £200 a year and said the move is designed to value the “commitment” and “responsibility” of marriage in society.

But Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation said: “A small tax break from government will never be enough. It can only be the beginning. It’s a flag in the ground.”

Disgrace

Mr Benson said: “The real disgrace is that we have turned our backs on marriage for far too long. It has cost us dear.”

He warned that family breakdown had significantly increased in the last 30 years and blamed society’s “trend away from marriage”.

He said: “The equation is a simple one. Unmarried couples are more likely to split up. Fewer marriages inevitably means more family breakdown.”

Conning

He added: “We need to stop conning ourselves that reliable love and commitment exist just as much outside of marriage as within; it’s simply not true. Success outside of marriage is the exception. Marriage matters.”

The tax break, to be introduced in 2015, would apply to married couples who are both basic rate tax payers, and where one spouse earns less than the personal tax allowance.

Mr Cameron said the policy would also apply to gay marriage.

Commitment

He said he is not trying to bribe people to get married.

He said: “This policy isn’t about the money but about the message that people who make a lasting commitment should be recognised in some way.”

He added: “All we’re saying is that marriage is a good thing for our country – it’s the ultimate form of commitment under the law – and we want to show our support for it.”

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