Chancellor urged to boost tax support for marriage

Feb 21, 2024

Marriage should be much better recognised in the tax system to reduce the burden on families with a stay-at-home parent, a new report backed by MP Miriam Cates has said.

The UK is among the worst countries in the world for over-taxing single-earner families, according to the report from the Family Hubs Network (FHN).

Yet family-friendly tax changes would be hugely popular, a new poll commissioned by the FHN found. Over a third of the public (35%) believe that cutting taxes for families should be a priority for the Government in its forthcoming budget in March, rising to 55% of parents with children aged under 18.

Nearly half the country (49%) would support doubling the marriage tax allowance, which could boost family incomes by £252 a year. The marriage tax allowance is the amount of a non-working spouse’s tax-free allowance that can be transferred to his or her spouse to reduce the household tax bill.

In its report, the FHN calls for such a policy and also for the more radical proposal of taxing married couples as a household rather than as individuals, as many other similar countries already do. This would effectively make a person’s tax-free allowance fully transferable to his or her spouse.

Tory MP Miriam Cates said: “This timely report is clear that helping families through the tax system would be a hugely popular move. More than that though, it is the right thing to do. The benefit of family is unmatched for society – stronger family ties lead to better educational outcomes, better job prospects and reduced levels of crime”.

It is shocking that the UK is one of the world’s worst countries for taxing parents. Marriage urgently needs to be much better recognised in the tax system in order to rectify this. Marriage is the gold standard for family life, and supporting it while relieving the tax burden on hard-pressed families is a win-win – a “no-brainer”, as Cates puts it.

At C4M we join the call to make the coming spring budget a ‘Budget for Families’.