Today’s pensions announcement contains an attempt by strategists to reassure those who worry that the government is abandoning the family.
One of the gripes from the Tory backbenches about the mid-term review was that it provided precious little confidence that the tax break for married couples that they hope for will be forthcoming, with simply a promise that the Lib Dems could abstain in a vote on the matter. It was all very well announcing new childcare measures, MPs such as Tim Loughton complained, but what about those women who wanted to stay at home with their children?
But the briefings ahead of today’s announcement have carefully sought to underline that stay-at-home mothers will be among those who will benefit. Iain Duncan Smith has said the changes will rectify ‘this shameful situation where they are let down by the system when it comes to retirement because they have taken time out to care for their family’. It’s an important balance for the government to strike: but don’t expect this to be enough for those who are still pressing for the tax system to reward marriage.