A letter from 70 widows and widowers in today’s Telegraph calls on David Cameron to scrap his proposed marriage tax break. Meanwhile, the “Don’t Judge My Family” campaign has released a new film featuring widows and single parents.
The letter to the Telegraph has been signed by over 70 widows and widowers including the chairs of the Widowed and Young Foundation, the National Association of Widows, and the founder of the Merry Widows Forum. It says:
“As widows and widowers from across the country, we welcome the election’s renewed focus on the family, but urge the Conservatives to rethink proposals to create financial incentives for married couples, and for all politicians to give more thought to the needs of those widowed..
“We are supporting the Don’t Judge my Family campaign, which highlights the potential consequences of this proposal, and recommending that public money should instead be spent to support children and families who need it most.”
As well as excluding widows, widowers, single parents, and cohabiting couples, the Institute for Fiscal Studies yesterday showed that 11.6 million married people will be excluded from the £150 giveaway because both husband and wife work. A further 4.8 million married people will miss out because one partner is a higher-rate taxpayer or neither are taxpayers. In total, the policy will only benefit a third of all married couples.
The film, produced by the “Don’t Judge my Family” features Imogen, a young widow, whose husband died at the age of 39, and Sarah, a single mother looking after three children whose marriage broke down due to the pressure of caring for a very sick child. Actress Michelle Collins also appears.
Caroline Doughty, Chair of the Widowed and Young Foundation, who coordinated the letter said:
“David Cameron said this policy was important because of the message it sends out. What kind of message does this send to widows? That we are less deserving of support than someone who still has their husband and wife?
“The benefits system already unfairly discriminates against widows. We’re calling on politicians of all parties to think about widows and other families in need during the election, married or not. Don’t judge our families – support them.”