Clegg ridicules tax break for married couples

Lib Dem leader accuses Tories of trying to preserve 1950s ideal of 'bread-winning dad and aproned homemaking mother'

Nick Clegg is to attack David Cameron and fellow Tories who back a tax break for married couples, ridiculing them for wanting to "preserve in aspic" a 1950s view of "aproned, homemaking mothers".

In a speech to the Demos think tank tomorrow, the Deputy Prime Minister will distance the Liberal Democrats from their coalition partners, arguing that they take a fundamentally different view of how society is developing.

After the very public row between the two men over the handling of negotiations to solve the eurozone crisis, Mr Clegg's speech will be seen as a final provocation before MPs begin their Christmas recess on Tuesday. The Lib Dem leader will suggest that Tories have not moved with the times, as attitudes towards marriage, divorce and the role of men and women have changed.

"The institutions of our society are constantly evolving," he will say. "We should not take a particular version of the family institution, such as the 1950s model of suit-wearing, bread-winning dad and aproned, homemaking mother – and try and preserve it in aspic."

Making a distinction between Lib Dems who want an "open society" and David Cameron's "big society" Conservatives, Mr Clegg says the two ideologies take different views on a tax break for marriage. "We can all agree that strong relationships between parents are important, but not agree the state should use the tax system to encourage a particular family form."

A survey for the Centre for the Modern Family found that 77 per cent of people believe single parents can form a family, and 59 per cent thought same-sex couples can be a family.

Before the 2010 general election, Mr Cameron promised a tax break to send "a message" that the Conservatives supported marriage. "I don't think people are going to rush out and get married because there's a certain amount of money on offer every week," he said in January 2010. "I just think that we, as a country, should recognise the importance of committed relationships" to reverse Labour's so-called "couples' penalty". And as recently as last June, he told Tory MPs: "I am a strong supporter of the institution of marriage. I do think it would be a good idea to recognise it in the tax system."

Just days after Mr Cameron gave a speech appealing for a return to traditional church values as "an agenda which speaks to the whole country", Mr Clegg will suggest that it is only the Tories for whom "the emphasis is on non-state institutions such as marriage, the family, churches and voluntary organisations".

He adds: "Liberals pay people the compliment that they know what is good for them, without ideological instruction."

The Lib Dem leader will also seek to revive his social mobility drive by attacking the legal profession for being "woefully unrepresentative" of modern Britain. More than two-thirds of all High Court judges and top barristers are privately educated, he will say. Nine out 10 QCs are men, while 19 out of 20 are white. "I know that we politicians have to get our house in order, too. Not least my own party, which is too male and too pale. We are working hard to fix that. But my message to the legal profession, and especially to the Bar, is: you are not doing enough either. It cannot be right that justice for the many is overseen by the representatives of the few."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Sub-System Design Verification engineer

Flexible working, annual bonus, pension & more.: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the oppor...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Architect

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Design Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

MBDA UK Ltd: PCB Technologies Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor