Snipe - The Scoop

Saturday, 10 April 2010

How will Cameron's marriage tax break affect me?

Conservative proposals to encourage marriage would increase the income of the poorest families by as little as 0.03%, the Institute for Fiscal Studies have estimated.

Under the plans, married couples where only one person works, would benefit by "up to" three pounds a week.

The biggest beneficiaries will see their income increase by just 0.18% whilst couples where both partners work will see no benefit at all.

According to the IFS:

"The average gains are small because the policy affects only a small subset of families."

And within that small subset are couples with no need for an "encouragement" to their marriage at all:

"If encouraging marriage is seen as desirable primarily for the impact that it has on child development, it is not clear that a policy where pensioner families make up more than a third of the beneficiaries and receive 31% of the gains is well targeted. In fact, only 35% of the families who gain from the policy have children, and only 17% have children under 5."

As the Times editorial puts it today:

"This is surely no time to be giving money away so that people can just carry on doing what they are already doing, namely being married."

As pointless money-burning policies go it seems hard to beat, although no doubt the policy will be paid for by much larger cuts to tax credits, and child trust funds.

However, the point is that it's a symbolic policy which "sends out a message" to the electorate.

Like Boris Johnson's precept freeze it symbolises how the party wants to be seen, even if the reality is the total opposite.

For another example take a look at the Conservatives' new "three strikes and you're out" benefit fraud policy

It's a tough, message-sending, Daily Mail pandering policy, which in reality will affect "zero. No-one. Ever."

I think that's the clearest message about a possible Conservative government we're likely to get any time soon.

9 comments:

Helen said...

Up to £3 a week? That's been completely wiped out by the rise in bus fares.

AdamB said...

You could always use the money to save up for a tandem, Boris being the perfect advertisement for marriage of course.

Appealing of Ealing said...

Helen said...
"Up to £3 a week? That's been completely wiped out by the rise in bus fares"

Everything's about the buses for you -- isn't it? How much more bus subsidy do you want?

You're missing the point. £150 here or there is a side issue, (though I'd be more than happy to take back any amount of tax -- it's my money after all). The point is, no matter who's in charge after the election -- we're stuffed. And that great big state teat you love to rely on so much, is about to be plucked from your lips, for years. Labour will do that too. Enjoy the ride.

Why anyone would think the party that has brought the country to bankruptcy is in any way qualified to rescue us from it, needs their head examined.

Anonymous said...

Those people who want to cut back on the cost of the public sector have not factored in that there will have to be tax returns from all these people and at this level of income currently most people don't need to send in a tax return I believe.

Do they even know what the public sector do?

AdamB said...

"The point is, no matter who's in charge after the election -- we're stuffed. And that great big state teat you love to rely on so much, is about to be plucked from your lips"

But Cameron is just offering more of the "teat" isn't he?

And if we're in such a mess (as Cameron has been telling us for the past year) then why is he wasting half a billion on a measure that won't even do what it is supposed to do (encourage marriage)?

Surely he should be using that money to sort out the mess or "fix the roof" as he always puts it?

As the Times and the IFS point out It's a pointless, and confused measure, which is presumably why you're not trying to defend it.

HeavyLight said...

"Why anyone would think the party that has brought the country to bankruptcy is in any way qualified to rescue us from it, needs their head examined."

Which party did you vote for in 1987, 1992 and 1995, I wonder?

Appealing of Ealing said...

AdamB said...
"As the Times and the IFS point out It's a pointless, and confused measure, which is presumably why you're not trying to defend it."

I don't feel obliged to defend every nuance of Tory policy, or for that matter, any of them. Unlike you, I'm not electioneering.

AdamB said...

It's a funny sort of electioneering when I've been critical of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour election campaigns.

Anthony said...

Just grin and bare a marriage on the rocks and The Conservatives will give you a little financial tip for your troubles!,do they really think people are so idiotic?