Sunday, October 14, 2007
Both the two main political parties in the UK have been commenting on how the tax system should reward married couples.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a Cabinet Minister, Andy Burnham told the Daily Telegraph: "It's not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage." He did not advocate specific changes to the tax system, but said there was a "moral case" for using tax to promote the traditional family unit.
Mr Burnham, who is married with three children, said: "I don't seek to preach to anybody. But in an abstract way I think it's better when children are in a home where their parents are married, and I think children do notice if their parents are married or not."
He added: "I don't think the Tories should have a monopoly on this kind of thinking. This is totally where Gordon (prime minister Gordon Brown) is coming from, your roots and your family are everything."
The Conservatives are yet to give detailed proposals, but a policy group led by former leader Iain Duncan Smith recently suggested a range of proposals including a transferable married couples tax allowance, worth around £20 a week.
The idea of tax breaks to support marriage has previously been criticised by Labour ministers who said it would discriminate against children with separated parents.
It is good to see them commenting on the importance of a marital unit, and will be interesting to see what their final policies end up as.