Bishop of St Albans asks about marriage tax allowances

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 19th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government:

  •  what plans they have to increase the marriage tax allowance.
  • what recent assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the current rate of marriage tax allowance in supporting couples financially.
  • what financial assistance they are providing to couples who (1) are getting married, or (2) have recently married.

Lord Harlech (Con): The Marriage Allowance (MA) is designed to recognise marriage, and the commitment it entails, in the tax system. The MA is targeted at married couples and civil partners where one partner earns below the Personal Allowance (PA) and the other is a basic rate taxpayer. In 2022-23 the MA is £1,260 and is worth up to £252 per year.

The transferable amount has been fixed at 10 per cent of the Personal Allowance since it was introduced in 2015. Setting the value of the allowance considerably higher would increase the cost and the Government must ensure the tax system supports strong public finances.

Even with the decision to maintain the current level of the Personal Allowance and consequently the current level of the MA, the PA has increased by over 40 per cent in real terms since 2010, ensuring some of the lowest earners do not pay income tax. Thanks to the PA, in 2021-22 around 30% of earners didn’t pay tax.

The Government understands that people are worried about the cost of living challenges ahead. That’s why decisive action has been taken to support households across the UK through cost of living challenges ahead, whilst remaining fiscally responsible.

The Government has announced further support for next year designed to target the most vulnerable households. This cost of living support is worth £26 billion in 2023-24, in addition to benefits uprating, which is worth £11 billion to working age households and people with disabilities.




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