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Tax break for married couples

The tax break, called the Marriage Allowance, applies to couples where one partner earns less than £10,000. To be eligible, the other partner who works must be in the lowest income tax band. For most people, this means the partner cannot earn more than £41,865.

The tax is designed to reward families where one partner stays at home or works part-time in order to look after children, whilst the other goes out to work full-time.

The government says the move will help up to four million couples and 15,000 civil partnerships in the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This policy is about more than pounds and pence. It's about valuing commitment.

"Families are the bedrock of our society... this tax change is about saying as a society, we recognise that.

"Other countries recognise marriage in the tax system and it's high time we did so again in Britain.

"... this new tax measure will benefit those who choose to stay at home or work part-time in order to care for their families."

Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris has branded the Marriage Allowance an unwarranted intervention on people's privates lives. The socialist writer Laurie Penny has said the state shouldn't pay for a lifestyle choice that doesn't work for everyone.

Eligible couples who register for their Marriage Allowance are due to receive their tax break in April.

The Christian charity CARE has been campaigning for greater recognition of marriage in UK tax law for fifteen years. James Mildred, from the organisation, told Premier:

"We warmly welcome on this historic day finally there is a transferable allowance introduced for one-earner families.

"We do very much see this as a starting block; CARE want to see a hundred percent transferable allowance.

"Marriage is foundational. It's so vital for society, it's for the good of society, it's for the health of society."

Listen to James Mildred on Premier's News Hour:

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