Tax breaks worth up to £150 to married couples will be written into law by David Cameron before the next election, a Treasury minister has promised.
A Treasury minister has promised married couples are to be offered tax breaks before the next election. Photo: ALAMY
David Gauke gave a “firm commitment” to help married couples within the next two years, amid growing unrest among Tory MPs about the lack of support for traditional families.
He moved to reassure colleagues because George Osborne’s Spending Review on Wednesday is unlikely to contain any giveaways to support married couples or stay-at-home mothers.
Conservative MPs expressed relief that the Prime Minister was still committed to honouring his manifesto pledge to bring in the tax breaks, but urged him to name the date on which couples will actually start saving money.
A senior Government source said that “all options are open” but the most likely date for its introduction is April 2015, which would be during the next general election campaign.
However, the source said it was still possible that ministers could legislate for the change in this parliament and delay its implementation.
The wording of Mr Gauke’s letter and the Coalition agreement only commits the Government to holding a vote on the measure by 2015, not to implementing it. The Tories’ pact with the Liberal Democrats in May 2010 said: “We will also ensure that provision is made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to the Coalition Agreement.”
Writing to fellow Tories, Mr Gauke promised that the Government would recognise marriage in the tax system and “legislate for this in this parliament”.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor have consistently made clear that we remain committed to recognising marriage in the tax system. I know that many of you will have heard the Chancellor set out his commitment to deliver on this during the course of this parliament. An announcement on details of how we will legislate for this in this parliament will be made by the Chancellor in due course,” the letter said.
Mr Gauke’s reassurances are designed to avoid another rebellion by Tory MPs, who are trying to force ministers to bring in a tax break for married couples immediately by amending the Finance Act that is going through Parliament.
However, MPs are frustrated that Mr Gauke has not named a date for introducing the tax break.
Tim Loughton, a former education minister who is leading the revolt, told The Telegraph there needed to be more urgency on delivering the pledge.
“There is only a certain amount of promises about ‘in due course’ that hard-working families can take,” he said.
“This was a clear Conservative manifesto commitment to deliver a clear and popular Conservative policy that rights an injustice by recognising hard-working families in the tax system.”
SOURCE: The Telegraph