Married couples will be given a helping hand/posed by models
DAVID Cameron last night promised to deliver a tax cut for millions of British families by 2015.
The Tory pledge to introduce an income tax allowance for married couples will be in place by the next election, senior Government sources confirmed.
It will mean an extra £150 a year for households across the country and will provide some welcome cheer amid the economic gloom.
The Prime Minister is determined to overcome the opposition of his deputy Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems to ensure that the pledge, designed to bolster the institution of marriage, is delivered. But some Tory MPs were last night disappointed after it emerged the measure will not be included in next month’s Budget.
Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have agreed instead that it must be implemented by the next general election, which is due in May 2015. A Government source travelling with the Prime Minister on his three-day visit to Africa said: “The recognition of marriage in the tax system will be put forward in this Parliament.
“It won’t be in this Budget but it will be in this Parliament. It’s an agenda the Prime Minister is very committed to.
“The Chancellor and Prime Minister have discussed it and it will be put forward. It is right to recognise marriage and recognise commitment.”
It is expected that one spouse or civil partner will be allowed to transfer £750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner, reducing their tax bill. This would be worth £150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers.
Campaigners last night welcomed the news. Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Our complicated tax system often discriminates against married couples. Letting families share their personal allowance would help tackle poverty.”
But news of the delay disappointed Tory backbenchers, who are annoyed that Mr Cameron will next week press ahead with his plan to legalise gay weddings while postponing the tax cut originally designed to encourage traditional marriage.
The decision comes amid growing frustration among some Tory MPs with the party leadership.
Mark Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin, Shropshire, said: “I welcome the PM’s renewed commitment to reward marriage in the tax system but I am disappointed that the Treasury is taking so long to get on with it.”
Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, said: “This will get people thinking that the Prime Minister’s priority is gay marriage while a pledge that Conservative MPs, including himself, were elected on is kicked into the long grass. It will cause a lot of anger and irritation on the backbenches.”
The delay will also disappoint Tory right-wingers in the Cabinet, including Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Owen Paterson. Some rebels are trying to whip up support for a letter calling for Mr Osborne to quit but Downing Street officials yesterday insisted the Prime Minister had “full confidence” in the Chancellor.
Downing Street last night dismissed rumours that the Red Arrows aerobatic team would be axed as part of a new round of defence cuts. A source said the idea was “ridiculous”.