Catholic Union highlights single earner penalty in Budget debate

The Catholic Union has highlighted the penalties in the tax and benefit system facing families as part of the debate on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget.

Ahead of the debate in Parliament, the Catholic Union briefed MPs on the single earner penalty that affects families where one parent works while the other takes on caring responsibilities.

Speaking in the Budget debate, Catholic Union President, Sir Edward Leigh, said: “If a couple earns £70,000, they are £7,000 worse off as far as the taxman is concerned if the mother stays at home looking after a child and the husband goes to work.”

“The Government should be neutral about the fact that, often, it is in the interests of the child and the mother, where the mother wants to do so, for her to be allowed by the tax regime to stay at home and not to be forced by the tax regime or by her personal circumstances to go out and work”, Sir Edward said.

Ahead of the Budget, the Catholic Union had called for a commission on family taxation to look at ways of easing the tax burden on families. The proposal was back by 25 Conservative MPs.

The Catholic Union will continue to make the case for a more family friendly approach to tax and benefits, which looks at the means and needs of households overall and not just individuals.

Catholic Union Director, Nigel Parker, comments: “With the cost of living continuing to rise, helping families keep more of the money they earn is even more pressing. We have repeatedly raised the need to address the single earner penalty in our tax and benefit system. Parents who have caring responsibilities should not be penalised for being out of work. Our concern is that the Chancellor’s recent announcement on childcare funding may make matters worse for some households, by only providing financial support to the children of working parents. We will continue to make the case for fairness and families to be at the heart of our welfare system.”