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The basis of us supporting tax breaks for married couples was surely to support and assist stable relationships, so it does seem a logical extension to want to support same sex couples who have entered in to civil partnerships together.

IDS hasn't gone far enough.

Transferable tax allowances should be available for all married couples. This way, you recognise a separate family unit, not two individuals if the couple so desire. This allows either party to transfer their allowance to the other whether or not working (benefits the one paying higher rate tax) It also makes it economically viable for either party to "stay at home" and/or look after children or aged relatives or do charitable work. There are a multitude of reasons why a transferable tax allowance is economically sound as it encourages people to take responsibility themselves rather than having to rely on the state for e.g. childcare or looking after the aged. Indeed there is an argument that where members of a family are looking after an aged parent/ relative (thus saving the state a fortune)that the aged individuals tax allowance should be capable of being transferred into the family unit doing the caring.

Lets take this further and say that when houses are sold in order to allow an aged relative to move in with other relatives there should be no stamp duty as, again, this benefits society by keeping these people out of the state purse.

Let's look for a tax system that actively encourages families to look after each other and does not, as is the case at present penalise anyone who wants to be a family.

Firstly, it's "Mr" Milne. Secondly, I am hardly aged - Mr Blair became Prime Minister whilst I was at primary school.

Regarding the "mental illness" concept, almost any deviation from a standard norm in the workings of the brain seems to be classified as a mental illness. I'm not sure this should be the case, but since it is, one should be consistent. I don't understand why it's much of an insult - mental illness hardly relegates one to a sub-human status. It's a flaw in a person but not very much more than that. I don't consider it to be "evil"; though I think it would be a good thing if people weren't so shameless about their flaws. I don't think homosexuality is "treatable" as such, hence I have no interest in re-education. But all of this is far off the main point. Do we want to encourage this behaviour? If all of this gay marriage stuff was necessary to hold together civil society in the 21st century I would sympathise with it. But the evidence of the past century shows that people always abuse trust and freedom. The "thin end of the wedge" is a hackneyed phrase but often plain true.

My language may be indiscreet, but someone said something about discretion and youth being ill-married partners (an apt phrase for this debate) once, and they were quite right. This issue is getting at me because it symbolises the conservative party's complete loss of faith in its own beliefs and people shouldn't be bullied out of thinking and saying what they please. People should try to be civil and tolerant, and I think I hold to those tenets fairly well.

I am no more a BNP supporter than Enoch Powell was. The BNP are socialistic in many policy areas, as I have stated before, and are racialist rather than nationalist. They are as narrow minded as the leftist alternative lifestyle persons. They are a one-issue hate party, and the nostalgic trappings of the BNP are a means to an end, duping various fairly decent but politically naive people to vote for them. They would probably re-criminalise homosexuality given the chance, which I would oppose. UKIP is a party of meagre ability with no electoral hopes and a lack of vision. I began right wing, moved to libertarianism about the age of 16 under a banner of freedom, because I was wooly minded and miserable and kicked about somewhat at school and vaguely wanted to be nice; a few years have passed and I have realised with some effort that conservatism is a cohesive whole, that the nasty party idea is rubbish, that conservatism should stand for civilization, rather than chasing a barbarism of the plains which cannot sustain civil society. My parents and my grandparents were Tories before me and I consider it my duty to pay some heed to their values and beliefs.

I won't extend this confrontation as it will lead nowhere; I think we are unreconciliable. If Mr Cameron takes the Tories too far away from principles I can confidently support, I will abstain from voting and join the growing disenfranchised majority. I must admit though that Mr Cameron would have to deselect Sir Peter Tapsell, fire David Davis, plan to abolish the church of England and aim to give up our nuclear deterrent before his party would not be clearly the best option available, merely by virtue of the views of its MPs, which are mostly somewhat to the right of the pro-gay lobby here.


As the great G.K. Chesterton once wrote:

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around."




The basis of us supporting tax breaks for married couples was surely to support and assist stable relationships

Not so.

Until c. 1960 most people did not pay income tax so it was not an issue. Income Tax was essentially a tax on the professionals and the business class and had certain deductions so it was not an assault on thei basic way of life.

The German Supreme Court ruled c 6 years ago that the tax system discriminated against families with children because tax allowances were insufficient for a family to have their minimum existence guaranteed - as is a requirement in the German constitution.

There is no way that people could live and exist on the tax allowance which is set just above the level of the State Pension so the basic state pension is not taxed.

Since the 1960s the bulk of the population has been dragged into PAYE which is why the allowances and exemptions have become a very different issue from when the PAYE system was designed c 1943


It was 1944 for PAYE

1944 The Pay tax As You Earn system (PAYE), is introduced. This replaced annual or twice yearly collections. Tax was deducted by employers and when an employee left an employer, they were given a P45 which had on it their code number, income to date and tax paid to date. The P45 was given to their new employer. The scheme had been piloted by Sir Kingsley Wood but on the day it was to be announced, he died. By the end of January 1944, 15 million people earning £100 a year or more, received notices telling them their code number.

1874 Although it was widely thought that income tax would be removed when Disraeli was returned as Prime Minister, income tax stayed. This was despite the fact that income tax contributed only £6 million to the Government revenue of £77 million. Most of the population were exempt.

1918 The standard rate of tax increased to 30%, bringing in £257 million on top of the £36 million from the super-tax. In addition, there were other taxes such as Excess Profits Duty. In all, the taxes collected amounted to more than £580 million, which was 17 times the amount in 1905.
1920 A Royal Commission was set-up to look into income tax and the super tax. It concluded that they should remain.
1930 With a population of 45 million, 10 million were taxpayers.
1939 The standard rate of income tax is 29% with a surtax of 41% for incomes over £50,000. Ten million people were taxpayers. The amount raised was £400 million.

In 1955 only 259.000 people were paying Surtax - only 37 people had incomes >£100,000 with most tending towards the bottom of the SurTax scale at £2500

An Oxford Professor would earn £850 pa


Before the First World War, the exemption level for income tax was around twice the average tax unit income, and taxpayers were a minority of the population. Stamp (1916, page 449) cites an official estimate for 1912-3 of 1.15 million taxpayers, or some 5% of all tax units (tax unit numbers from Atkinson, 2002, Table A1). The income tax was however to become a mass tax over the course of the twentieth century. By 1930 the exemption level was around average tax unit income, and Barna (1945, page 254) gives a figure of 10 million for the number of taxpayers, in 1937, or some 40% of the total tax units. After the Second World War, the exemption level had fallen to under half average tax unit income, and the majority of the population had become payers of income tax.

Thank you Tory T for trying to justify the State taking sides in favour of married commitment. I do not find it very convincing but at least you have attempted to address the issue.

Just picking up on a couple of things - I am unsure why it is better for the housing market for two people to buy one large house (they are rich you say) than to have one smaller one each. In fact the greatest shortage is of larger units. And you take no account of these rich married people being more likely to have second or week-end homes. But in any case the real distinction is between married couples living together and unmarried ones doing so, and there is no economic difference there.

Second, economically couples stay at home more - they go out to cinemas, restaurants etc less, I suggest. So they may be more homemakers (more work for home decorators and builders) but not so much socialising (restaurants, services etc). If they are both working their overall spending power will be the same whether they are living as a couple or living separately. If they live separately they may buy two toasters and have less money for better wine - but buying the extra toaster contributes to economic demand as much as buying the wine. As a married couple they may look more long term and therefore save more (i.e. spend less for the same income), a double-edged sword economically.

So I think in the end it depends on whether the State should approve legal coupledom and disapprove of singledom. I think on the whole it's none of the State's business (except where children etc are involved as already covered) and that it should be neutral; and your utilitarian arguments do not convince me otherwise.


"I began right wing, moved to libertarianism about the age of 16 under a banner of freedom, because I was wooly minded and miserable and kicked about somewhat at school..."


You don't say, fancy that!

I'm closing this thread before it gets any more unpleasant.

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