The Christian Institute

News Release

Married couples pledge welcomed

The Christian Institute today welcomed the statement by the Prime Minister that a Conservative Government would introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples with dependants. On the 18th March the Institute welcomed the Government’s decision to carry out an enquiry into the taxation of married couples following a cross party campaign by Edward Leigh MP and 50 other MPs.

Speaking today, the Director of the Institute, Colin Hart, said

“We have long called for the introduction of transferable tax allowances. They operate very successfully in many Western Countries. People who give up work to look after children, or dependants who are elderly or disabled, should not be penalised by the tax system. This is precisely what is happening now.

At present a married woman can only use her tax allowance if she decides to work. The present system provides mothers with a strong financial dis-incentive to stay at home. This cannot be right.

In 1996/7 a single person on average male earnings takes home £286.29 a week. A single earner couple with 2 children on the same earnings takes home £311.05 (including child benefit). That’s £24.76 more to feed one extra adult and 2 children. [See Alistair Darling’s Question Hansard 11 December 1996 wa 195-6].

I very much hope that the other political parties will not dismiss transferable tax allowances out of hand. Labour and Liberal MPs have already supported the idea during the 1997 Finance Bill.

The state currently spends £6 billion per year on the consequences of divorce. At £1.2 billion pa the Conservative tax proposals are modest. We would like to see them extended to married couples without children to reflect the fact that the institution of marriage brings real benefits to society.”


Note for Editors

The Christian Institute is a Christian policy research organisation.