The Prime Minister David Cameron has finally announced that he will be offering a tax break to married couples worth up to £200 a year.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Cameron announced that couples who are married or in civil partnerships will be given a £1,000 transferable tax allowance that will benefit around four million couples.
The move, announced ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester is part of a deal with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that has seen the Coalition promise free school meals for all children under eight years old.
Mr Cameron wrote that “it will be true if you’re gay or straight – and in a civil partnership or a marriage. This summer I was proud to make Equal Marriage the law. Love is love, commitment is commitment.” An estimated 15,000 gay and lesbian couples already in a civil partnership will benefit. The thousands of same-sex couples who are believed to be waiting to marry until next year will also benefit too.
Liberal Democrat MPs will be allowed to abstain on the issue. Earlier this year, Mr Clegg said: “This desire of the Conservative Party to hand-pick couples through the tax system who conform to their image of how you should conduct your life, I don’t think it’s fair.”
Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Equalities, Yvette Cooper Tweeted: “‘Love is love, commitment is commitment,’ says PM. Except for 2/3 married couples, widows, single parents…’Love is love. Commitment is commitment….’ for married couple with one earner on £40k, but not for married couple with each on £10k”. Her husband, Shadow Chancellor Tweeted: “Women lose when David Cameron cuts child benefit/credit, but men the beneficiaries from his marriage tax break (1/3 of married men that is)”.
In his article, Mr Cameron explained: “I believe in marriage. Alongside the birth of my children, my wedding was the happiest day of my life.
“Since then, Samantha and I have been a team. Nothing I’ve done since – becoming a Member of Parliament, leader of my party or Prime Minister – would have been possible without her.
“There is something special about marriage: it’s a declaration of commitment, responsibility and stability that helps to bind families.
“The values of marriage are give and take, support and sacrifice – values that we need more of in this country.
“When I ran for the leadership of my party back in 2005, I said that I wanted to do more for marriage in the tax system: a personal pledge that I made right at the start of my campaign – and I then backed that up with a pledge in our manifesto at the last election.
“So this week at the Conservative Party’s conference in Manchester, I’m going to deliver on the promise I made.
“From April 2015, if neither of you are higher rate taxpayers, you will be able to transfer £1,000 of your tax free allowance to your spouse.
“In effect, if you pay the basic rate of tax and your partner doesn’t use all of their personal allowance, you’ll be able to have some of it. Most couples who benefit will be £200 a year better off as a result.”
Writing exclusively for PinkNews.co.uk earlier this year, Mr Cameron said: “I am proud that we have made same-sex marriage happen. I am delighted that the love two people have for each other – and the commitment they want to make – can now be recognised as equal. I have backed this reform because I believe in commitment, responsibility and family. I don’t want to see people’s love divided by law.”