Peter Hoskin

How Labour and the Lib Dems are attacking the Tories’ marriage tax break

How Labour and the Lib Dems are attacking the Tories' marriage tax break
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This morning, we've already seen the two primary attacks which will be used against the marriage tax break outlined by George Osborne in the Times today.  The first came courtesy of Vince Cable, who said it represents a "derisory" sum of £3 a week for those who benefit from it.  And the second was from Ed Balls – who else? – who labelled the policy as "discriminatory," because it doesn't cover every married person, and nor does it account for couples who split.  Or as he rather suggestively put it: "if your husband beats you up and leaves you you get no support."

One thing worth noting is how the Tories' opponents aren't majoring on a fiscal irresponsibility angle, as they've been trying to with the national insurance cut.  Part of the reason for this, I suspect, is because the Tories are funding it out of a bank levy, and Labour and the Lib Dems would hate to look like they're sticking up for those dastardly bankers.  But the main reason is probably because the policy is relatively cheap at £550 million. Even though all signs are that the Tories will expand it – or something like it – in the fullness of time, this fact allays my previous worry that the Tories would make an extremely costly statement at a time when we can't afford extremely costly statements.