§ Mr. MacShane
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in 1997–98 of giving a married taxpayer the option of(a) transferring his or her basic personal allowance to their spouse and (b) allowing married couples to be assessed jointly in each case on the basis that the allowances to which each was entitled would be added together and set against the joint income and the amounts chargeable at the lower and basic rates would be double that chargeable in the case of a single person and that couples would not also receive the married couples allowance. 143W
§ Mr. Jack
[holding answer 4 March 1997]: The estimated full-year cost at 1997–98 income levels of allowing couples to transfer their unused personal allowance to their spouse is estimated to be £3.4 billion. If married couples could opt for joint assessment, the estimated total full year cost would be £5.2 billion. These figures do not take into account any behavioural change which would result from such measures.