“The risk of poverty is much higher for children in couple families where only one parent works; sole earner families account for a significant minority of poor families with children. Many fathers”— this applies to mothers, too—
“have to work long hours, making it harder for them to get involved in family life and more difficult for mothers to work. To enable more low-income families to have both partners in work”.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation makes a case for why such recognition helps lower paid families, too. My long-term aspiration is that we should fully extend the allowance, but at this stage, as I stated in my proposed amendment to last year’s Finance Bill, I would like us to concentrate on families with children under the age of five. If it meant that we could extend a more generous allowance to families with children under that age, I would be happy for the allowance not to extend to married couples generally. Such an amendment has been costed at between £700 million and £750 million, which is affordable in the context of what else is happening.