David Cameron has confirmed that the Conservative Party will recognise marriage within the tax system if they are elected, but may not be able to give specific proposals before the General Election.
Speaking on Monday night Mr Cameron said: “Recognising marriage in the tax system is something I feel very strongly about and something we will definitely do in the next Parliament. We will set out exactly how in due course.”
His comments were echoed by Philip Hammond, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who said: “It’s a clear commitment for the first term of a Conservative government. We will introduce a recognition of marriage in the tax system.”
Tory sources have conceded that they may enter this year’s election campaign without revealing the full details of their tax reform plans, but insist that voters should be in “no doubt” about Mr Cameron’s commitment to bringing in the reforms.
The Labour party has criticised Mr Cameron’s plans, claiming they will cost nearly £5 billion per year.
However, family breakdown is believed to cost the UK economy £24 billion per year.
The current tax system penalises married couples meaning that many would be financially better off if they were to split up.
Mr Cameron’s comments come after he appeared to downgrade his commitment to recognise marriage in the tax system during an interview with the BBC.
He said: “It is something we want to do, something we believe we can do, it’s something, within a Parliament, I’ll definitely hope to do.
“I’m not today able to make that promise. Today, we face a vast budget deficit… we’re not able to give people absolute certainty on everything.”
The Tories also plan for couples to be given leaflets on marriage guidance and counselling at register offices to help prevent further marital break-ups.
Others are cautious about Mr Cameron’s promotion of marriage because he wants to extend the same benefits to same-sex civil partnerships.
During his first party conference as leader Mr Cameron expressed his view of marriage saying that as far as he “was concerned it didn’t matter whether it was between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman”.