§ 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. 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.