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26 October 2012

Call for government to recognise marriage in tax system

Call for government to recognise marriage in tax system

Christian groups are calling on the government to recognise marriage in the UK tax system.

Advocacy charity CARE argue that not recognising marriage results both in lower marriage rates and in higher rates of family breakdown.

They are calling for the introduction of transferable tax allowances between partners, to replace the current system whereby un-used tax allowances can not be transferred from a non-earning spouse to an earning spouse.

Currently, the UK is the only highly developed large economy that has a tax system which ignores marriage.

Moreover, in a recent debate which centred upon child development in the House of Lords, the Lord Bishop of Chester said: "Marriage and relationships are very important for the general well-being of children."

He continued: "A recognition of marriage in the tax system would send a powerful symbolic message, from government, into society It would say something about the wider importance of marriage to society."

Other Lords speaking at the debate, such as Baroness King and Lord Rabbi Sacks, were in agreement that child development from an early age was important not only for the child's future but for society in general; and some also stressed the importance of marriage in this respect.

Baroness Garden of Frognall responded on behalf of the government: "The government remain committed to recognising marriage in the income tax system.

"We want to show that we value commitment. We are considering a range of options and fully intend to come forward with proposals at an appropriate time."

CARE's report on The Taxation of Families 2010/11 showed that families with a one-earner couple with two children, on an income 75 per cent of the national average, were paying 85 per cent more tax than the average tax-payer.

Their report also showed, however, that two-earner families carried 21.5 per cent of the tax burden, whereas a single person without children would carry 30.2 per cent.