The UK government will not introduce a tax break for married couples in next month's budget, as an attempt to placate anti-gay marriage Tories
The UK government announced today (2 January) that it will not introduce tax breaks for married couples.
There had been speculation that British Prime Minister, David Cameron, would bring in tax breaks for married couples in order to appease Tory backbenchers who are opposed to gay marriage.
The gay marriage legislation is expected to be introduced before 2015 will allow couples to transfer part of their personal tax allowance to their partner.
The Commons will vote next week on the government’s plans for gay marriage.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been under pressure from the right wing Conservative party members to give tax breaks for married couples.
The move is likely to anger and increase opposition from the Tory right wing against gay-marriage.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, where a religious institution had formally consented, in England and Wales.
It would also allow couples who have previously entered into civil partnerships to convert their relationship into a marriage.
The tax break is in the coalition agreement but Liberal Democrat MPs would be allowed to abstain.
It is expected that one member of a married couple or civil partnership would be able to move £750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner, reducing their tax bill. This would be worth about £150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers.
A senior government source said, however: ‘It won’t be in the Budget but it will be in this parliament. This Budget obviously, with all that has happened in recent weeks and months, will be very much focused on growth in the economy’.
According to the Times, the issue of gay marriage is causing Conservative members to leave the party in significant numbers.
The Times claimed that as many as 100 members had revoked their affiliation in some constituencies.
Tory MP David Burrowes is quoted as saying: ‘There’s serious unrest in the grassroots. You cannot avoid the fact that the troops are unhappy. People are drifting away’.
The BBC’s political correspondent Vicki Young said the tax news had to be seen in the context of the highly contentious vote on gay marriage, with dozens of Tory MPs opposed to it.
She said: ‘The two issues are linked in their minds because they say it is about David Cameron’s priorities, putting gay marriage ahead of married tax breaks.
‘Some of them say it will increase anger and consternation on the backbenches’.