HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 c75

I next propose to do something for married women in industry, as we are most anxious to encourage as many married women as possible to enter industry at the present time. Today, when the wife goes out to work, a special allowance of £110 is given, in addition to the married allowance of £180. This is already very favourable treatment, as it means that the married couple, who both work, receive an allowance of £290, as against £220 for two single persons. However, only one set of reduced rate reliefs is given to the working couple, so that, if the husband is already paying tax at the standard rate, anything the wife earns above £110, plus the earned income relief, is liable to tax at the standard rate; whereas, in the case of a single person working alongside of her, the first £50 is chargeable at 3s. and the next £75 at 6s.

I propose to give the wife in employment the benefit of reduced rate reliefs as well as the husband. The wife in employment will, therefore, enjoy precisely the same allowances from her earnings as the single woman with whom she works. The proposal also has administrative advantages, as it will avoid troublesome adjustments in P.A.Y.E. which have at present to be made in the case of the husband and wife, both working. This relief will cost £4½ million in a full year and £2 million this year.