What does your marriage, or marriage in general if you’re a Bridget Jones wannabe, mean to you? Hold it for a second, feel its weight, get the cut of its jib. Now, what’s it worth? And no we don’t mean in a touchy-feely he/she/it’s my everything kind of way. We want an ACTUAL MONETARY VALUE.
Because that’s what the Conservatives, in all their infinite wisdom trying to fix everything but the economy, have done. Want to know what your marriage is worth to them? Up to £200 a year. Or, even more depressingly, around £3.85 a week.
£3.85. A Week.
We’ve let this one stew for a week or so here at TSA HQ, partly because it’s been talked about a fair bit but mostly because we consider it to be bollocks. A tax break for the legally coupled up has been a cornerstone of Tory policy for some time now but with the Lib Dems to put into day-care and the whole jump-starting the economy business to worry about it’s been something of a slow-starter – kind of like getting married in modern society actually.
When it was announced David Cameron said “The values of marriage are give and take, support and sacrifice – values that we need more of in this country.” Because of course you can’t have those values without a significant other who you’re legally bound to for life. Way to take a swipe at the singles, Dave. We’re all mutant space hopper people who want to suck the life out of society with out selfish singleness…or something like that.
Dave did score some brownie points by including gay marriages and civil partnerships in the policy. We wonder how his traditional backbenchers, who’ve waited eight years for this ‘traditional’ policy to morph from an empty election promise to something real, feel about that. At least it’s patronising enough to anything other than a nuclear family with a stay-at-home Mum, that should please them.
We’re on the fence in terms of how well this will work. No one is going to get married for £3.85 a week but at least it won’t be used as a reason to stay in a bad or abusive relationship either. Couples breaking up may already have to stay living together thanks to the Tory housing bubble but at least the draw of the tax break won’t force them to stay together any longer than they have to if it’s not working. We can’t even go into the whole idea of domestic abuse because it’s complicated and we don’t know enough to comment but we imagine the last thing you want to do when you’ve left an abusive marriage is have to pay the Government more money because you didn’t stay. The message this policy gives out is that any marriage is better than no marriage. We’re not standing for that.
Call us old romantics but we still really like the idea of marrying for love. Remember that? Seems silly and outdated now. Today we need incentives. The ring, the house, the car and now the tax break. But today we say no more! Sorry Dave, but it just won’t cut it for us. We’ve watched parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and everyone in between file for divorces as we’ve grown up, to the point where marriage just doesn’t make sense in terms of what it will cost our hearts and our minds, we’re not going to be bribed by what it will add to our wallets.
Angharad is a former radio journalist balancing a career in PR with an insatiable writing habit that spans more topics than she can count on her smaller-than-average hands. She's passionate about the media, women's rights and politics with a love of travel, culture, entertainment and all things lifestyle on the side. Interests include prolific online shopping (bit of a reputation in the office), musicals, dinosaurs (be honest, they're awesome) and tweeting anything and everything from @Welsh_PR