Pressure grows over Tory marriage tax break pledge

Tory MPs renewed pressure on David Cameron today to give a clear timetable for the introduction of a promised tax break for married couples.

Prime Minister David Cameron: Under pressure over marriage tax break pledge. Picture: PA

• Tory MPs are piling pressure on the Prime Minister to name a date for the introduction of a tax break for married couples

• Tory backbenchers have grown weary of perceived inaction of Treasury over manifesto pledge

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Treasury Minister David Gauke wrote to MPs insisting the measure will be legislated for before the 2015 general election.

It was seen as an effort to calm backbench tensions over the failure so far to implement the Conservative manifesto promise.

But critics said the pledge of action “in due course” was wearing thin and called for a date to be set.

Under the Tory plan, non-working spouses and civil partners would be able to transfer some tax-free allowance to partners, saving up to £150.

The coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats makes increasing the personal allowance to help low earners the personal tax priority.

It also opens the way for the marriage break, by specifying that Lib Dems would be allowed to abstain in any Commons vote.

Tory ex-minister Tim Loughton is leading the push for the measure to be introduced quickly - and has tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill with the potential to cause a damaging revolt.

With the tax break not expected to feature in Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review and recognising grassroots demands for action, Mr Gauke told MPs that Mr Osborne and Mr Cameron had made clear they “remain committed to recognising marriage in the tax system”.

“An announcement on details of how we will legislate for this in this parliament will be made by the Chancellor in due course,” he told them.

Mr Loughton told the Daily Telegraph that patience was wearing thin.

“There is only a certain amount of promises about ‘in due course’ that hard-working families can take,” he said.

Another former minister Gerald Howarth said he would be looking for it to be included in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

He said: “We stuck to the commitment on overseas aid. The Government has forced through gay marriage. Why is this commitment such a difficult one to fulfil?”