Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes marriage tax change

Updated Monday

Lambeth Palace issued this press statement:

Archbishop’s statement on marriage tax breaks

Saturday 28th September 2013

In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement today that some married couples and civil partners will receive a transferable tax allowance from 2015, the Archbishop has said the church welcomes all support for family life.

In a statement, the Archbishop said: “We welcome all support for family life and we’re pleased that this initiative includes both married couples and those in civil partnerships.”

Press coverage of this government announcement:

Telegraph Married couples to receive £1,000 tax break

Guardian Tories woo married couples with tax break

BBC David Cameron unveils marriage tax breaks plan

Channel 4 News David Cameron’s cash for married couples – who gets it?

David Cameron proposes rewarding marriage with a tax cut – worth £200 a year to four million couples. But it won’t go to everyone. Who gets the £3.85 a week marriage bonus?

…The married couples tax break will favour “one earner” couples, where one partner is either not working or earning very little. Very high-earners won’t get it either. It will be restricted to basic rate tax payers – a band which includes people on salaries of up to £41,450 a year.

The marriage tax break has been on the Conservative agenda since 2010, but the bill will be sped up this year and brought in for 2015, Cameron promises.

The tax break will go to couples where one partner has an income of under £41,450 and the second is not working or earning a low salary.

In order for the couple to benefit, the low-earning partner will have to be earning under £9,440 – the current tax-free allowance for 2013/14…

Further media comment:

Spectator David Cameron unveils £1,000 marriage tax allowance

New Statesman Five problems with the Tories’ marriage tax allowance

Guardian This Tory tax allowance is just a marriage of convenience

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Father Ron SmithCraig NelsonInterested ObserverRichard AshbyJohn Roch Recent comment authors
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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

For many if not most of us this is just a cynical exercise to appease the Tory backwoodsmen. Does the ABC or any other sentient being actually believe that couples will marry or stay together for the sake of £4 per week?

Sister Mary
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Sister Mary

If neither parent earns enough to pay Income tax, presumably they gain nothing at all?

John Roch
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John Roch

As Richard Murphy pointed out on the Tax Research UK blog on 28 September, this will cost the Treasury more than the bedroom tax saves.

“In other words this allowance that’s a sop to a 1950s view of Britain is to be paid for by disabled people, children who’re forced from schools and by the disruption of communities.”

william
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william

The Government are to be congratulated and encouraged for their decision to enable married couples to count part of their income as one, so that they might distribute their responsibilities to work as well as to other family responsibilities. It takes a tortuous mind like Richard’s[!] to imagine that the Government hoped that by this means “couples will marry or stay together for the sake of £4 per week” Neither will this charge be laid exclusively [as John seems to reason!] at the door of “disabled people, children who’re forced from schools …” Rather all taxpayers will contribute to this… Read more »

Sister Mary
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Sister Mary

Sorry – in comment #2 above, for parent read partner. But I’ll point out that politicians who talk household incomes have a habit of ignoring those who do not have sufficient to pay income tax, and boast the lowest % of incomes pay “no tax at all,”. Yet the lowest % of poor people (we) is liable for VATax at full rate.

John Roch
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John Roch

william – Please read what I wrote: I drew attention to Richard Murphy’s comparison of the costs and then quoted him.

I expressed no view on the proposal.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

If the point of the £4 per week isn’t to encourage couples to marry or stay together, what is it for? It’s a very expensive way of sending signals about the ‘valuable provision for society’. Why should I, as a single gay man, pay for a political hand out designed to assuage the susceptibilities of a handful of male Tory MPs and activists. The problem is that no one takes any notice of either church people of politicians extolling the virtues of marriage so they had to dream up something more concrete with other people’s money. I maintain that it… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

Surely the ABC shouldn’t be in favour of anything which makes people who are in civil partnerships think they’re in some sort of family relationship? I mean, I thought he was completely opposed to the idea that same-sex couples might form families defined by marriage or marriage-like bonds?

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

‘cos married people are worth it. If that’s so – why do married people who pay no income tax get a bit a £4 communal uplift? They’re the one’s that could do with it. The whole thing is supposed to be about using marriage to help ‘broken Britain’ – cos that’s what marriage is for (apparently). Well, the people who are most at risk of being ‘broken’ don’t pay income tax cos they’re not in jobs. If those in jobs divorce, I genuinely regret that. In many cases they’d be better staying together, in many not. But I hardly think… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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What I find most interesting in all of this is that the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he is pleased that people in Civil Partnerships will not be left out in this ‘marriage’ allowance. This, at least, shows the Church being more liberal in its attitude towards C.P.s than might haver been thought to be the case.