The true test of Conservative poverty policy won’t be fine words but whether David Cameron has the guts to take tough choices.  One of those choices is to deliver a fair deal for the one institution that does most to bind society together – marriage.  Mr Cameron’s party conference speech suggests that the Tory leader has the right intentions but will he eliminate the marriage penalty that punishes the choice to marry?

The existence of that penalty is exposed (again) in today’s Mail on Sunday.  New Tory welfare spokesman, Andrew Selous MP (a long champion of marriage), has highlighted the case of two newly-wed constituents.  They came to him after being told by their local Job Centre  that they’d be better off divorced.  Couples who live apart get £25 more, they were told – £1,250 a year.

That’s the society Labour has created.  You’re penalised if you get married or if you save or if you start a small business.  Taxes, benefits traps and red tape all make it harder and harder to do the right thing.

For information on the breakdown of the family under Labour and its costs see this week’s Spectator politics column (by Fraser Nelson) and the Mail on Sunday leader.

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