A Labour Government would scrap 'perverse and unfair' tax break for married couples, says Ed Balls
The shadow Chancellor said his party would instead deliver tax cuts to help all middle and lower income families struggling with the cost of living crisis
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 13 March 2014
David Cameron's tax break for married couples would be scrapped immediately by an incoming Labour Government, Ed Balls has announced.
The shadow Chancellor argued that it would be fairer to use the money for tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes, whether or not they were married. Interviewed by the BBC ahead of next Wednesday's Budget, he attacked as “perverse and unfair” Mr Cameron's decision to bring in a £1,000 transferable tax allowance for 4.1m married couples worth £200 a year from April 2015.
Mr Balls said: “It only goes to a third of married couples, and one in six families with children, it goes mainly to men. It doesn't go to widows, it doesn't go to people who've been left by an abusive husband…. the vast majority of families with children get no benefit.”
He said Labour would deliver “fair, not unfair” tax cuts to help all middle and lower income families struggling with the cost of living crisis. Labour would bring back a lower 10p starting rate of tax to help 24m taxpayers, including 12m people who are married. Almost half of those who would benefit (46 per cent) would be women.
Mr Balls admitted he was “daunted” by the prospect of becoming Chancellor because of the scale of the cuts Labour would have to make and the deficit it would inherit. But he insisted: “I'm up for the task and I'm looking forward to it.”
Asked how he would answer Conservative claims that Labour could not be trusted with the economy, the shadow chancellor insisted he had learnt from his party's mistakes in office and he was now “wiser and more experienced.”
The former City minister said: “There was a global financial crisis - from which we all have to learn lessons, including me - because we didn't regulate in a tough enough way. But, in the end, who do people think understands the lives of people in our country, who's on their side and wants to make this a better, fairer stronger nation in the future? I think I know the answer to that and I think most people know it's Labour who will deal with that cost of living crisis.”
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...