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'Tax breaks will only cheapen marriage' - Wyre Forest vicar
A WYRE Forest vicar has hit out at Prime Minister David Cameron’s marriage tax break plan describing it as a “token gesture” and a “blow against women”.
Despite Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, supporting the initiative, vicar of Stourport Eva McIntyre said she felt it “cheapened” marriage.
“People might expect me to be jumping for joy as an Anglican vicar but I’m not,” she added.
Tory Mr Cameron, last month, announced four million couples would benefit from a £1,000 transferable tax allowance from 2015 in a policy the Conservatives say supports the institution of marriage.
The tax break will apply to couples if both are basic rate taxpayers with one earning less than the personal allowance – due to be £10,000 in 2015.
Ms McIntyre said: “The £1,000 allowance has to be transferred from the lowest earner to the highest, meaning in real terms, the majority of the benefit will end up in men’s pay packets.
“This change is alongside the decrease in child benefit usually received by the woman, so the changes under way and this new proposal will actually see a shift of money from women to men.”
Conservative health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the policy recognised the value of marriage but Ms McIntyre argued: “As this allowance only affects those on basic tax rates, it’s not a universal endorsement of marriage but a specifically targeted policy which implies those on lower incomes need to be cajoled into conforming to the traditional norm.”
The plans have also been criticised by Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury Rachel Reeves who said Mr Cameron was “out of touch” and people wouldn’t “get married for £3.85 a week.”
Archbishop Welby, however, said: “We welcome all support for married life and we’re pleased this initiative includes both married couples and those in civil partnerships.”
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