It is time to back marriage

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Centre for Social Justice (Great Britain)
Centre for Social Justice
Date of publication
16 February 2012
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Families
Social welfare
Material type

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Marriage is no panacea but combined with real early intervention and reform of the benefits system, as well as general couple support it plays a crucial role in tackling social breakdown. A transferable tax allowance to support marriage, as part of wider reform to champion its value, would be more beneficial to the poorest than plans to increase the income tax threshold to £10,000.

Such a move would not constitute moral finger-wagging or telling people how to live their lives; it would play a part in tackling the perverse incentives which currently persuade people on low incomes to reject couple formation and marriage. For as the CSJ has highlighted consistently through its work on the tax and benefit systems, those who believe that the state currently takes a neutral position in relation to the decisions people make about family are wrong.

Backing marriage in 2012’s Budget would encourage strong and stable families, and tackle the social breakdown that fuels poverty. Family policy that targets the devastating breakdown and chaos which damages children’s opportunities and life chances should be the foundation on which we build a socially just society. From strong families other crucial reforms – such as in welfare, education, criminal justice and addiction – can take root. The Government should be bold. There is no time to waste.

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