Bribing the Electorate

Further to my previous post, it seems that the Tories are really trying to prove that they have some policies (having spent the past 18 months proving that David Cameron is a ‘nice guy’ and little else).

The next big idea is tax breaks for married couples. On the basis that marriage will solve all of the social problems in the UK.

Now, I have a lot of respect for marriage. So much so that I am not married because I see it as a serious commitment that should not be entered into lightly. However, if the Tories get in and will pay me £1,000 a year to get married, perhaps I should regard it a less of an onerous promise. Thinking about it, if this is brought in, and it encourages people who are a bit dubious about marriage to get hitched, wouldn’t we see more marriages break up later on (when the people realise that money isn’t the only thing that should keep them together). Then there is the idea that people in failed and abusive marriages are to be encouraged to stay together because of cash. ‘Family Values’, anyone?

The other side to this, of course, is that it will cost over £3 billion to implement. Who is going to pay that extra tax – or who is going to lose the services of the same value? Could it be that single people will pay the price? Or even single parents? Are the children of parents who split up (or where one died) deserving of less support, so that married but childless couples can be better off?

Not to mention that it was actually the Tories who set in place the tax reforms which led to the abolition of the married couples’ allowance in the first place (in 1990, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, John Major, started the trend to reduce its value). By the time it was abolished ten years later, it was worth about $400 per year, and benefited about 6 million childless couples.

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