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Cameron unveils marriage tax break proposal

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Married couples will get tax breaks worth up to ??200 a year, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Saturday, in recognition of their "commitment and responsibility".AFP/File

Married couples will get tax breaks worth up to ??200 a year, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Saturday, in recognition of their "commitment and responsibility".

Ahead of the Conservative Party conference next week, the Tory leader said he planned to make good on his pre-election pledge to recognise marriage in the tax system.

"I believe in marriage. Alongside the birth of my children, my wedding was the happiest day of my life," Cameron wrote in the Daily Mail.

"There is something special about marriage: it's a declaration of commitment, responsibility and stability that helps to bind families.

"The values of marriage are give and take, support and sacrifice -- values that we need more of in this country."

The scheme will also be available to couples in civil partnerships.

Couples will have to apply online for the new allowance, which is not available to those that include a higher rate taxpayer.

"This week at the Conservative Party's conference in Manchester, I'm going to deliver on the promise I made," Cameron wrote.

"From April 2015, if neither of you are higher rate taxpayers, you will be able to transfer ??1,000 of your tax free allowance to your spouse.

"In effect, if you pay the basic rate of tax and your partner doesn't use all of their personal allowance, you'll be able to have some of it. Most couples who benefit will be ??200 a year better off as a result.

"And of course this will be true if you're gay or straight -- and in a civil partnership or a marriage.

"Love is love, commitment is commitment."

Responding to the announcement, Rachel Reeves, from Labour's shadow Treasury team, said: "David Cameron's so-called marriage tax break won't even help two-thirds of married couples, let alone millions of people who are separated, widowed or divorced.

"He's so out of touch he thinks people will get married for ??3.85 a week.

"At a time when millions of people are facing a cost of living crisis we should be helping all families and not just some."