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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Westminster Marriage Tax Break Short-Changing Vunerable Women

Friday, 27 December 2013


PLEDGE TO INTRODUCE FAIRER MODEL IN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND

The Scottish National Party has criticised the UK Government’s plans for marriage tax breaks which would see men make up 85% of those benefitting from the £700 million pot of cash - and leave bereaved and abused women out in the cold.

An analysis has found that only 15% of the people benefitting directly from the £200 a year bonus announced in Westminster’s Autumn Statement earlier this month would be women. Under the policy, which comes into force in 2015, the lower-earning partner will be able to transfer up to £1,000 of their unused tax allowance to the other, but the scheme will overwhelmingly benefit men as they are more likely to be the higher earner.

Commenting, SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Quite simply, the UK government marriage tax break is short-changing women.

“The policy reinforces other measures that discourage ‘dual earning’ couples, by making those who benefit lose if their partner takes a job for more than a few hours a week. The Women’s Budget Group has recognised that it will dissuade women from going back to work because the husband could lose their allowance if his wife gets a part-time or low-paid job that takes them over the earnings threshold.

“A woman who loses her husband through bereavement or is forced to leave the family home because of domestic violence also loses out.

“UK government benefit cuts already mean that many women are struggling financially, and the £700 million price tag could be better spent elsewhere.

“Even the Institute of Fiscal Studies has recognised that the Westminster policy is symbolic and would be of little benefit.

“Westminster’s tax-breaks which only benefit the traditional nuclear family shows how out of touch the UK Government is.

“As outlined in Scotland’s Future, with independence an SNP government would scrap marriage tax breaks – our priority is to help families with children by greatly expanding childcare provision.”

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