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Tories: marriage tax breaks

By Katie Razzall

Updated on 10 July 2007

Iain Duncan Smith proposes tax breaks for married couples to mend Britain's 'broken society'.

"Married couples bearing children, providing them with a stable background" - "marriage to be rewarded with tax breaks - a return to old fashioned values" - is it sounding a little familiar?

'Back-to-basics' became a stick for Labour to beat the conservatives - but this is 2007 - and families are a theme all parties are focussed on - Iain Duncan Smith's Social Justice Commission with its views on how to mend what it calls 'our broken society' is being watched closely across the political spectrum.

The proposals

  • Requiring lone parents to work part-time when their child reaches five.
  • Persuading more young people to volunteer as part of the school curriculum.
  • Putting money into addiction treatment funded by extra taxes on drinkers.
  • Crucially, giving married couples a tax and benefit boost potentially worth £20 a week.

We've all seen the pictures of young people on the rampage - it's an unpalatable fact that 70 per cent of young criminals come from single parent families.

He points to estates where a culture of worklessness sees children growing up without positive role models, add debt, addiction and illiteracy into the mix and it is explosive.

Iain Duncan Smith says families must be given incentives to stay together because family breakdown is the cause of society's ills. His opponents agree on the problem but not the solutions.

There is a clear dividing line between the conservatives and others on the question of marriage, but they're rowing against the tide. The number of weddings now at its lowest since records began.

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