Tories Appeal for Marriage Tax Break in Clash With Cameron Plans

U.K. Conservative lawmakers appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron to cut taxes for married couples, underscoring a clash within the party on cultural social issues.

Fifteen Tories including former ministers wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph newspaper today calling on the premier to deliver on a pre-election pledge for a transferable tax allowance for married couples. The lawmakers want the change to be made in next year’s spring budget.

“Recent research in America has shown that college graduates who become single parents are likely to be less well off financially than those who only complete secondary education, but go on to marry,” the letter says. “We believe that these proposals are a vital weapon in combating child poverty.”

The lawmakers’ intervention highlights tensions within the ruling party over the direction it should take before 2015 elections and how it should interact with its coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.

Yesterday, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the party’s key strategist and Cameron’s closest ally, said he would be putting gay marriage at the heart of the party’s plans. In an article in The Times, Osborne cited President Obama’s re-election, saying the Tories should be in step with voters and “how they want to live their lives.”

“It was Mr. Obama’s 11 percent lead among women that won it for the president, even though many of those that voted Democrat thought Mr. Romney would manage the economy better,” Osborne wrote. “President Obama’s high-profile endorsement of equal marriage for gay couples also enthused younger voters. But polls found that a majority of all Americans supported him on the issue and voted for it in all four states that held ballots.”

-- Editors: James Hertling, Leon Mangasarian

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