Yesterday a new report from the OECD confirmed the unfairness of the British tax system. It showed that the tax burden shouldered by the (traditional) single-earner married family is heavier than the international average.
Two-earner families and singles pay relatively much less, as David Davis MP pointed out here three days ago.
The Coalition, belatedly, is introducing a transferable tax allowance to remedy this iniquity.
As David Davis pointed out, and as all its advocates agree, it still needs to be made far more generous to reduce the inequity that exists and that penalises this family choice.
But meagre though the allowance is, it did not stop a vicious attempt by the Labour Opposition from killing it off altogether.
But for six stalwart and principled Tory MPs, Labour’s anti-married-family feminists might have succeeded.
This farrago of negative women was headed by Shadow Treasury Minister Catherine McKinnell. Leading their charge she crudely described TTA as ‘dud of a policy’ , speciously arguing that it did ‘nothing for widows, widowers, lone parents, long-term co-habiting couples’. No, it was not meant to.
But it was the last 15 years of family irresponsibility these ladies were so assiduously fighting to retain. They cared not about the collateral damage on children. Feminist ideology was what mattered.
Catherine’s colleague Kate Green was there with all the hoary old chestnuts. The trouble was, she said, that by ‘benefiting couples as a unit’ you completely failed ‘to recognise financial coercion in relationships’.
Oh dear, that wicked combination of money, men, patriarchy and power that so many of us suffer.
Catherine agreed – the majority of gainers of the minuscule TTA would be men. That was not on. That there just might be mothers who want to stay at home to care for their children while their husbands did the breadwinning clearly has not crossed her mind.
No wonder she was entirely dismissive of David Burrowes’s case that:
“….. rather than wholly going down the route of an individualised tax system, as has happened in the past, this policy considers married couples. Married couples are benefiting and, if we asked them, they would say that they are benefiting as a couple and as a household.”
Shock and horror – the family taxed as a unit. Never. As far as she was concerned, an individualised tax system regardless of women’s wishes was here to stay.
Anything else, after all, as Alison Seabeck asserted would discriminate against single-parent families – that epitome of perfect and independent family life.
Actually no it wouldn’t. It would by a minuscule amount lessen the tax penalty that the choice to marry brings.
Never mind the facts. Labour’s females were preoccupied by theory. The only acceptable family formation was one free from patriarchy.
Her colleague Kate Green seemed to agree. As Catherine enlightened us, with the majority of wealth already held by men in this country, they should not be trusted with a penny more!
Stewart Jackson had had enough. If the transferable tax allowance has so offended their feminist credo he was beyond offending them.
Her speech against TTA he said was ‘mischievous, disingenuous, mealy-mouthed, patronising, leftie drivel—typical middle-class, tofu-munching, Guardian-reading Labour nonsense that said, “We know best what’s good for working people, not you.”’
Nor would it wash with the electorate, chipped in David Burrowes. He was not to be put off: ‘We need to look at ways of supporting such couples to stay together, not least for the sake of their children.
Too many children see their parents breaking up. We need to look at the evidence in support of marriage, because these decisions need to be based on evidence rather than on (your) moral judgments’.
TCW could not agree more. All decent-minded people should raise a glass this weekend to these six wonderful parliamentarians who were brave enough to face down Labour’s feminist bullies.