George Osborne’s tax cuts penalise single-earner families with a stay-at-home parent, claims bishop

 

Political Editor

A Church of England bishop has accused the Government of penalising stay-at-home mothers and carers by discriminating against families in the tax and benefits system.

The criticism came after an inquiry by a Christian charity to be launched on Tuesday found that that married couples with only one earner keep less of every extra pound they earn in the UK than in any other country in the developed world.

Last month, church leaders including 27 Anglican bishops condemned the Coalition’s welfare policies for causing hardship and hunger, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said its benefit cuts were “a disgrace". Now the Government is under attack for being “anti-family” in a study carried out by the charity Christian Action Research and Education (CARE).

The Rt Rev Peter Foster, Lord Bishop of Chester, said in the report that David Cameron is moving in the opposite direction from his 2010 election pledge to make Britain “the most family-friendly country in Europe”.

He expressed concern that the tax burden on one-earner married families in the UK is significantly above the average for the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He said it was even “more disturbing” that the tax burden for a one-earner married couple with two children on average wages is moving closer to that for single people.

“We cannot promote such clear fiscal individualism and not expect to reap the consequences,” he said. “Far from delivering policy solutions to fix ‘broken Britain’, it would seem that the Government… was more interested in exacerbating our social brokenness, however inadvertently, by promoting fragmentation.”

The Bishop also sounded the alarm about the lack of work incentives for one-earner married couples in the UK, after the study showed that those on £27,000 a year lose more of every extra pound they earn - 73p - than in the rest of the OECD. He said this meant Britain was “the last developed nation” to be able to lay claim to  Mr Cameron’s goal of being the “aspiration nation".

CARE said in its report: “This crippling [effective marginal tax] rate means that these ‘squeezed middle’ families only saw 27p of every extra £1 earned. This state of affairs does more to disincentivise work than the fiscal arrangements of any other OECD country.”

The church charity criticised George Osborne for raising the personal tax allowance to £10,000 a year from next month, claiming this entrenches “individualism” rather than helps families.

But Nola Leach, chief executive of CARE, said the group was “delighted” that the Chancellor has announced that married couples will receive a transferable tax allowance from April next year, describing it as an “inspired move". But she added that the change is “very limited” as it will be worth just £200 a year, and will not tackle the problems identified in the report. CARE called for “a fully transferable allowance” for all one-earner married couple families as soon as possible.

Government ministers insist their welfare reforms have improved work incentives. A Treasury spokesman said: "The Government's long-term plan is to build a stronger economy and a fairer society. Because we're getting the public finances under control, we're able to help people who work hard by cutting income tax - the UK has one of the highest tax-free allowances in Europe - freezing fuel duty and introducing a new marriage tax allowance."

Ministers point out that 80 per cent of their austerity measures come from spending cuts, limiting the share from tax rises to 20 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

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