In a Green Paper on the Family, published today, the Centre for Social Justice has made the case (again) for a recognition of marriage in the tax system.
The report reminds readers why the two parent family is important:
"We believe that a transferrable tax allowance should be introduced in the UK. This would send a clear signal in support of marriage as an important institution. It would also have the practical benefit of supporting and recognising those spouses playing vital, unpaid caring roles. This could be achieved in a number of ways with differing costs – all of which are a fraction of the £20-24 billion annual cost of family breakdown. In the long-term we recommend the implementation of a transferable tax allowance for all married couples, but in the current financial climate we recommend a staggered implementation. We believe that as a priority, a transferrable tax allowance should be introduced for married couples with children aged 0-3, the formative years of a child’s life.
Different scenarios could include:
- For all married couples: £3.2 billion
- For married couples with dependent children or in receipt of Carers Allowance: £1.5bn
- For married couples with children under 6: £0.9bn
- For married couples with children aged 0-3, the most important years for a child’s development: £0.6bn
A transferable tax allowance of the full personal allowance amount would provide an additional £20 per week. We do not believe that this will incentivise marriage, nor should it, but it may encourage more couples to make the transition from co-habitation to marriage and thereby increase the stability of their relationship. Although a modest sum, £20 a week could make a significant difference to low income families. Importantly it will provide the symbolic recognition of the value of marriage."