Married couples must be given tax breaks to end the “bias” against stable families, Iain Duncan Smith will say today.
David Cameron will be reminded by the Coalition’s leading pro-family Cabinet minister that he promised to back marriage and stop couples being penalised.
Mr Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will issue a clear statement designed to ensure that the Prime Minister holds good to his commitment to give married couples a tax break.
Mr Duncan Smith will use his speech to say that the role of the family is one of the most important issues facing the country. He will demand that the “bias” against married couples is ended.
Mr Duncan Smith will say: “I intend for our welfare reforms to make an impact on the couple penalty where it matters most – amongst families on the lowest incomes.
“Furthermore, the Prime Minister has made it clear that in this Parliament the Government will recognise marriage in the tax system.”
Mr Duncan Smith is overhauling the welfare system and believes the breakdown of the family is central to many of the problems facing society. Conservative supporters also want Mr Cameron to make good his promise, but fear the Liberal Democrats will act as a brake on the Prime Minister. Mr Duncan Smith’s speech will, unlike his Lib Dem Cabinet colleagues two weeks ago, unashamedly champion marriage.
He will say: “This isn’t about Government interfering in family life; it’s about Government recognising that stable two parent families are vital for the creation of a strong society. It’s about parents taking responsibility for their children.
“It is about government realising that we have to create a level playing field for the decisions people make about family. This means reversing the biases against stability we’ve seen in recent years, including the damaging financial discouragement to couple formation, despite the evidence of its stable outcomes for children.”
The former Tory leader will also step up his attack on the European Union and its interference in his welfare reform plans. Last week Mr Duncan Smith used an article in The Daily Telegraph to lambast Brussels for starting to dictate social security policy after they moved to start legal proceedings against Britain over its treatment of “benefit tourists”.
Today, he will rally the Tory rank-and-file by reviving a famous soundbite of Lady Thatcher’s by telling the party conference: “And let me re-assure you, that at a time when the British people are tightening their belts, and the European Commission orders us to open our doors to benefit tourists and pay them benefits when they arrive here.
“I have a simple message for them. No, no, no.”
Mr Duncan Smith, who in opposition set up the Centre for Social Justice to examine the problems of “Broken Britain”, will tell party supporters that the August riots illustrated that the old way of trying to contain social breakdown is no longer enough.
He will say: “The riots provided a moment of clarity for us all, a reminder that a strong economy requires a strong social settlement, with stable families ready to play a productive role in their communities.”