Emergency Motion 1: Tax Break for Marriage

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2013 National Retired Members Conference
3 October 2013

Conference notes the Prime Minister’s announcement on 28th September that the government plans to introduce an option for some couples who have married or who have registered civil partnerships to transfer £1,000 of their personal tax allowance from one partner or spouse to the other. This proposal affects UNISON members in all membership categories.

As a Retired Members’ Conference, we note, particularly, that of the four million reckoned to benefit from the move, one third will be pensioners. However, the move will be of no help to less well-off pensioner couples, possibly a majority, whose incomes are too low to pay tax or are below the Pension Credit Guarantee level.

Conference further notes that virtually all eligible pensioners will lose their entitlement as they become single again, most often because their partner or spouse has died. In other words, the government proposes to introduce, in some cases, a charge on widowhood of £3.84 a week.

Conference believes that any such available funds should be used to alleviate poverty where it is greatest, for example as far as pensioners are concerned, by restoring the value of Winter Fuel Allowance, by restoring a direct link between the Pension Credit Guarantee and inflation and by increasing Age Addition (for over 80s) from its current paltry 25p per week.

Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to approach the National Executive Council and all appropriate partners with a view to mounting a campaign to seek to ensure families of all kinds and single people are treated with equal respect and that such a campaign address pensioners’ particular concerns.