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Marriage (Financial Disincentives)

Volume 17: debated on Sunday 11 April 1982

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to reverse the increasing trend of financial disincentives against marriage.

This is one of the important subjects set out for public discussion in the Green Paper on the taxation of husband and wife, published at the end of 1980.

Did my hon. Friend have the opportunity to read a very interesting article in a very reputable national newspaper about a couple—no doubt North London Socialists—who obtained a divorce and discovered that by doing so they saved £7,000 per year in tax? Is it not slightly absurd that a Government who believe so much in the family should put such a premium upon living in sin?

Most couples are better off married than single for tax purposes. The converse applies only when the wife, potential wife, or potentially separated wife has a very large investment income, as may well be the case for the couple to whom my hon. Friend referred. The balance is between marrying for money and being taxed on it for one's pains.