Tuesday, 5 January 2010
WILL MARRIAGE TAX BREAK BE THE ANSWER TO BROKEN BRITAIN OR A SOCIAL ENGINEERING SUBSIDY
The Tories today appeared to wobble on their commitment to subsidise marriage. Mr Cameron was forced to guarantee tax breaks for married people if he wins the election, having previously downgraded his pledge to an aspiration because of the parlous state of the economy. It is unclear what he will do, the cost, or how he will fund it. The original plans were estimated to cost £5 billion a year.
First of all, let me say I am a believer in the family. In my opinion there is no more stable or better way for children to be raised than in a family unit: Mum, Dad, and 2 children, a dog and goldfish, living in a nice house with a garden, with enough space that when they start to grow up there will be room to entertain their friends, situated in a pleasant area with good schools and so on. Ideally of course, neither of the parents should drink to excess, nor should they smoke, do drugs, have affairs, or rows, or leave the kids unattended, etc. Whilst many of these things may not be available to the average family in Scotland, of them all, the family is the most important. I’d love it if every kid could have that start in life.
I believe too that the state has a role in our society. It should provide absolutely necessary services to our communities: health, water, power, education, housing for those who need it, etc. I also think that we should pay for some of these services through the tax system. I’m not, however, keen on the state interfering in the day to day life of individuals. I imagined the Tories would have been equally sceptical of this.
I understand that the family represents tradition: the “back to basics” that Mr Major was so fond of. But I worry about this method of encouraging us into it. Today marriage, tomorrow church services, to make us better citizens?
The truth is that, unless a couple has children, what on earth has it to do with the state how they chose to live as long as it does not break the law? Unless Cameron has been imposed upon by Daily Mail readers I can’t see why he proposes to use our taxes to do this.
I can of course understand that the ideal life for kids described above may have to be subsidised by taxpayers, but not, for example, two people working in high power jobs, who have no time, and no inclination to have children or to interrupt their careers. Why would we subsidise that?
Of course, some people may well decide to pop down to the registrars and get themselves a certificate worth a subsidy of £500 - £1,000 a year. Who cares if they stay together for more than a year; who cares if they even live together at all? How will we know?