Married couples will not benefit from a tax break in next month’s budget, Treasury sources have revealed.
Critics have expressed frustration at the revelation, with one Conservative MP calling on the Chancellor George Osborne to re-think.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, any plans on tax breaks for married couples will not be in the budget on 21 March and will not be reconsidered until at least next year.
However the Treasury denied that any decisions have been made on the budget.
The Conservative Party pledged to “recognise marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system” in its 2010 manifesto.
And the idea of married couple tax breaks also appeared in the Coalition’s programme for Government.
But the delay in implementation has faced criticism. Conservative MP Stewart Jackson responded to the latest news by urging Mr Osborne to “reconsider this decision”.
And in an editorial, The Sunday Telegraph said it was “aghast”. “What reason can there be for reneging on so fundamental a promise?”, it asked.
The editorial also praised marriage as “one of the most important of all social institutions”.
The paper commented: “Collectively, we have an interest in promoting marriage, for the more couples who get married and stay married, the more children will grow into responsible adults who contribute to the welfare of society as a whole.”
In December last year the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg reiterated his opposition to the proposed tax breaks.
In a speech to the think-tank Demos Mr Clegg said: “We shouldn’t take a particular version of the family institution, such as the 1950s model of suit-wearing, bread-winning dad and aproned, homemaking mother – and try and preserve it in aspic.”
In June last year Conservative Edward Leigh MP led a debate on the issue in the House of Commons where he criticised the Government for being too slow in keeping its promise on the issue.