Dec 4, 2019

This is the first in a series of blog posts in the run-up to the election on 12 December, focusing on manifesto promises that relate to marriage.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have pledged in their manifestos to abolish the marriage tax allowance.

The allowance was introduced by David Cameron’s Coalition Government in 2015. It is similar to but lower than the previous Married Couple’s Allowance, which started being phased out some years before by previous administrations. It allows a person earning below their personal tax free allowance of £12,500 to transfer 10% of it to their spouse, if the spouse is not a higher rate taxpayer. This is currently worth £250.

Married couples benefit from this where one spouse doesn’t currently work because of, for example, childcare responsibilities or looking after an infirm adult relative.

Of course the allowance could be more generous. It should be. Our Government readily subsidises any child carer to look after children, except the parents. One spouse should be able to fully transfer any unused allowance to the other spouse.

But the point isn’t just the sum of money involved. It’s also the principle: the commitment and responsibilities of marriage should be encouraged in our society. Not least because study after study has shown that man-woman marriage gives children the best chance in life.