At one time in the UK it was possible to share part, or all of your tax allowance, with your married partner. This was useful if, for example, one partner lost their job. The person still working could in effect see a boost to their personal tax allowance by taking part of their partners.
Added to this a married tax allowance was also payable, at one time. This meant that a married couple would also benefit from a slightly higher tax allowance.
Those days are long gone but the 2010 Tory election manifesto included a promise of tax breaks for married couples.
A tax break for married couples was widely seen as a 'carrot' to Tory backbenchers to support 'gay marriage'. That reform did not sit well with many hard-line Conservatives but the 'softener' of a tax break for married couples persuaded opponents to tow the party line.
It has been revealed that UK Chancellor George Osborne will not be unveiling tax breaks for married couples in his Spring budget. He could of course have a re-think and pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat but for now it is just another broken promise.
Government ministers have said that although there are no plans for such reform in this budget that does not mean change will not come during this current term of office.Presumably that will be as another sweetener to try and secure a second term in office.
UK deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has made no bones about his lack of support for such a tax break. The mailonline reports Mr Clegg as saying, 'I didn't get married for £3 a week'. As they say, it was an arrogant ridicule of the Tory proposal. Clegg's words were rightly condemned by various MPs. Witham MP Priti Patel said: ‘Only someone from a privileged background like his could be as dismissive as he is of £3 a week. He shows a complete disregard and lack of understanding of regular families.’
And yes that is the point.
The ability to pass on part of your tax allowance to your married partner can be vital in some decision making. It can mean that one person is able to take time out to be a parent. It can be a lifesaver if ill health or unemployment strikes one partner.
If you are one of the elusive 1%, like Mr Clegg, such minor changes will not matter.
In October Works and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith warned Messrs Cameron and Osborne that the public would not take kindly to a further delay in married tax breaks.
UK PM David Cameron now faces a backlash in Parliament.
Note: Whilst some, especially Nick Clegg, see married tax breaks as a retrograde step countries such as Italy, Spain, France and Germany are happy to offer them.
Implementation of the 'bedroom tax'
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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