East Worthing and Shoreham’s MP, Tim Loughton, has called on Prime Minister David Cameron and George Osborne to urgently deliver on a party promise of tax breaks for married couples.
The former children and families government minister said he was “extremely disappointed” the chancellor failed to announce a long-expected commitment on the issue during the autumn budget.
Under the last Tory manifesto, an annual tax break for basic-rate payers with a revived married couple’s allowance - which had originally been scrapped by the former Labour government in 2000.
This would effectively leave a couple, with one partner earning upto £44,000 a year, around £150 a year better off – which is though to apply to around eight million people across the country, including many thousands within the Herald area.
His lobbying on the issue comes as higher earning residents (those with one individual earning £50,000 or more) will cut or withdraw child benefit.
This could see families lose out on thousands of pounds over a number of years.
Mr Loughton said: “There are a lot of hard-working people in my constituency who are feeling the pinch now along with most of the population.
“Many of these are people are in a family where a mum or dad doesn’t work and who would really benefit from having a tax allowance, which is something that has been promoted by the Coalition and the Conservative Party.
“So I am asking David Cameron to bring this in.”
Mr Loughton warned that the government was running out of time to introduce it by 2015 as had been expected.
He said he did not wish to discriminate against anyone by identifying married couples as deserving of specific tax concessions. But his genuine belief was that marriage statistically proved of benefit to children in offering a stable and socially valuable environment, which should be financially recognised by the government.
This comes as research from the Centre for Social Justice produced statistics that the overall cost of dealing with family breakdowns amounts to a staggering national bill of £44 billion a year, with a startling 48 per cent of all children now reportedly witnessing the breakdown of their parents’ relationships.
Mr Loughton added: “Families come in all shapes and sizes, but figures have shown that if by the age of 16 a child is still living at home with both parents, then 97 per cent of those cases will be households will be where the parents are married, which brings all the benefits of a stable environment.”
Mr Loughton expressed his frustration at the apparent lack of progress on the issue at a Social Justice think tank in London last week.
He added: “Family did matter to this Government. It was in the manifesto, it was in the Coalition Agreement and David Cameron mentioned it no fewer than 16 times in his last party Conference speech as Opposition Leader.
“Yet where is the Government’s comprehensive programme on family in action given its implications economically and socially, and who is leading it?”