HC Deb 12 July 1984 vol 63 c1351
13. Mr. Squire

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he now proposes to bring forward legislation reforming the married man's tax allowance.

Mr. Moore

My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans to bring forward legislation.

Mr. Squire

Does my hon. Friend accept, in line with the now aging Green Paper, that this allowance is a relic of a bygone age when the majority of women did not work outside the home? Will he, as a special birthday treat for me today, announce that the £3.25 billion should, instead of its present location, be diverted to assisting the relief of family poverty through increasing child allowance?

Mr. Moore

I am tempted to wish my hon. Friend "Happy birthday" and then to sit down, but I notice from the papers this morning that today is also the anniversary of the birthday of Julius Caesar. I am not sure of the connection with my hon. Friend, but in this context I have to tell him that the Green Paper made it clear that the far-reaching distributive effects of any changes merit serious study. I know that my hon. Friend would want us to take considerable care over this recommendation, however aging he may believe the Green Paper to be.

Mr. Marlow

Would the Government prefer couples to marry or to live in sin? If the former, will my hon. Friend produce a taxation policy that fits the priorities?

Mr. Moore

There is obviously no question as to one's personal preference. There is no evidence that, in practice, many couples choose not to marry, or to get a divorce, to take advantage of the tax rules. However, I recognise the point that my hon. Friend has made and I accept that the present position is open to criticism in a number of respects. That is one of the aspects being studied.