The Prime Minister indicated at the weekend that he would be announcing plans to implement the measure “quite shortly” in a move that appeared to have been sufficient to calm growing impatience for action among his MPs.
Shadow Treasury minister Catherine McKinnell said yesterday: “At a time when the Government’s failed economic policies mean living standards are falling, we should be helping all families and not just some.
“Millions of people who are separated, widowed or divorced, as well as married couples where both partners work and use all their personal allowance, won’t get any help from this out-of-touch policy.”
Fiona Weir, chief executive of single parent charity Gingerbread, said: “It is astonishing, just days after the Chancellor set out billions of pounds of cuts, that the Government intends to push ahead with a tax break that favours one family type over another and costs hundreds of millions of pounds.”
And Don’t Judge My Family campaign director Julianne Marriott said: “Last week the Government announced £11.5bn of cuts, but this week they can find half a billion pounds for a marriage tax allowance to promote their fantasy ’50s family – that’s a married couple with a breadwinner and a homemaker.
“This marriage tax announcement isn’t about keeping families together; it’s about keeping the Tory party together. We believe the Government should be spending £500m on helping all families, not judging them.”
The push for the marriage tax break is being led by Tory former minister Tim Loughton who has tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill which is likely to spark a Conservative rebellion if it is pressed to a vote today although it may be withdrawn following Mr Cameron’s weekend promise.