Lucky richest 13 times better off than poorest under Tory marriage tax plan

The Tories married couples tax break will be regressive. It will cost £4.9 billion with the richest decile getting a tax break 13 times as big as the poorest.

A written answer to a parliamentary question shows the regressive nature of the Conservative party’s plans to provide a tax break for married couples.

The chart below reproduced from the answer given to Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay shows the distributional impact of the Tory policy. The policy is expected to cost £4.9 billion with the richest decile getting a tax break thirteen times as big as the least well off. This will raise questions about the party’s commitment to reducing inequality and comes on the back of revelations in yesterday’s Mirror about the £7 million windfall that Shadow Cabinet members would receive from reductions to inheritance tax.

At Conservative party conference, George Osborne, said: “We are going to support marriage in the tax and benefit system.” The policy appears to derive from a set of July 2007 policy recommendations to the Conservative party by the Social Justice Policy Group outlined:

“A TPA [Transferable Personal Allowance] of the full personal allowance amount would provide only modest financial support for marriage – £20 a week to those making use of it – encouraging rather than incentivising it. The main rationale for the allowance would be to provide symbolic recognition of the institution of marriage. It would indicate that marriage is valued because of its benefits to children and the wider society. It would make it easier for a mother or father to remain at home to look after their children whilst the other spouse worked, or for one partner to do voluntary work within the community, look after elderly or disabled members or manage a home in a way that enables partners and families to have more undivided time together. We would thus see this as a measure with the potential to increase family stability and improve the quality of family life.”

David Cameron has come under attack in recent weeks for claims he has made over poverty and inequality.

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