The benefits that are proposed in this clause are for married couples. That is the way in which our society recognises a permanent and lifelong commitment that is intended by the parties.
Of course I would like to see more, but I welcome this positive start. I would like to see a department for families, a dedicated family policy across government and greater investment in relationship education for young people, both in school and later for those embarking on relationships or contemplating having a family. In the meantime, I fully support this proposal. It will encourage marriage and sends out an important signal that, for the first time in a long time from the Government, marriage is valued in our society—something the last Government never did. It places Britain in the position of recognising marriage in the tax system, whereas we were the only country in Europe not to do so. Is it any coincidence that the UK has one of the highest levels of family breakdown in Europe? We have to do what we can to change that, and this is one way. As the Prime Minister said, this change will provide support. Our support for families and marriage puts us on the side of a progressive politics and on the side of change that says, “We can stop social decline, we can fix our broken society and we can make this country a better place to live for everyone.”