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UK Coalition At Odds Over Marriage Tax Breaks

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

20 December 2011


Tax plans have again exposed a rift in the UK's coalition government, with the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg arguing that tax breaks will not make "much difference" in encouraging marriage in the country.

Speaking to Sky News, Clegg said that: "Most people get married because they love each other, not because they have looked at their tax returns and seen that they are going to get some cash back from the state".

He added that marriage should be a private decision and stressed that there are "limits to how the state and government should try to micromanage or incentivize people’s own behaviour in their private lives."

Clegg made the comments ahead of a speech to the Demos think tank, where he admitted to differences between the coalition partners on the issue of tax breaks for married couples.

The Conservative wing, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, has come down hard in favour of the incentive. Earlier in the year, Cameron told party members that marriage offers stability to families, and that the government intends to recognise marriage in the tax system.

Clegg, along with what he calls the "open society" Liberal Democrats, take an alternative view. He told Demos that: "We can all agree that strong relationships between parents are important, but not agree that the state should use the tax system to encourage a particular family form".

TAGS: individuals | tax | fiscal policy | United Kingdom | tax breaks | individual income tax

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