Darling, it’s a tax break! Let’s get married!

This is sure to please the true blue backbenchers - but what about everyone else?

Share

Some of the most obnoxious people I know are married. Married people have committed murder, acts of terrorism and even a few genocides. They can’t all be bad, but it does seem odd that a government in the midst of recession would choose this group in particular to reward with a tax break, as promised by David Cameron over the weekend.

Still, it’s the wedding season, love is in the air and if you promise me there’s a free bar, I’m willing to put doubt aside temporarily. Let’s assume, as the Conservative Party does, that: a) marital status is a reliable indicator of an individual’s value to society; b) couples getting and staying married is an unambiguous public good; and c) happy families are directly attributable to married parents, as opposed to all the other socio-economic factors. Even so, can lasting human affection really be bought so cheaply?

The scheme, which allows non-working spouses to transfer part of their tax-free allowance to their partners, will cost the state around £550m and amount to an annual rebate of only £150 per couple. Since, according to a recent study, the average British wedding now costs £18,244, Mr and Mrs Average will have to stick it out for an impressive 121 years to make their money back. But do check my workings – as a child of divorce, I understand that both my character and my arithmetic are necessarily dubious. Again, blame my broken home if you will, but I was also confused as to how the same Government which announced the need for £11.5bn cuts to public services just last week could find a spare half a billion to fund a tax cut by the following Monday?

While this measure will do next to nothing for Britain’s truly needy families, and is unlikely to make even a dent in the divorce rates, there is one group it will undoubtedly benefit: comparatively wealthy, more socially conservative voters – in other words, those most likely to vote Tory in 2015. Here is a blessed union between electoral strategy and true-blue values. What political expediency has joined together, let no man put asunder

Sadly, the announcement comes too late for Caroline Dinenage, Tory MP for Gosport, and Tory minister Mark Lancaster. According to gossip, the couple got it together after Dinenage left her husband. Lancaster already reportedly had a failed marriage behind him when he left his new partner and four-month-old daughter. Yet another different relationship then broke down before he took up with Dinenage. Absolutely none of our business, of course, but it does demonstrate who really wins whenever Government starts legislating on love lives. That’s you, fans of scurrilous tittle-tattle; your lowbrow hobby has just attained the status of legitimate policy debate.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories