A Conservative government in Britain should put the well-being of the family at the heart of its policies. People want to be able to make a good life for themselves and their loved ones without fearing that the government of the day will do anything to inhibit or undermine them in this ambition. Three policies currently causing political controversy threaten to do just that.
Proposals to impose a ‘‘mansion tax” on high-value properties, to withdraw child benefit from higher-rate tax payers, and to legislate for gay marriage have a unifying theme. They all risk undermining the traditional family.
A mansion tax strikes at the very notion of the continuity of family life. The family home is an important symbol of stability. Imposing an arbitrary tax on expensive homes attacks that principle. … The Centre for Policy Studies points out that it would hit the “income poor, equity rich” — many of them older people.
The unfairness of George Osborne’s proposal to strip child benefits from higher-rate taxpayers was well-rehearsed in the Commons debate. Its most egregious impact is that it penalizes stay-at-home mothers compared with dual-income families. How can a Government that professes family values countenance such a measure? As for gay marriage, where is the groundswell of opinion for such fundamental change to society’s central institution? David Cameron’s anxiety to appear a modernizing party leader threatens to create a wholly unnecessary political headache while raising profound questions about the meaning of marriage and of the family.
These are perilous waters for a Tory-led government. The talk is all of raising taxes: No one seems willing to make the case for lowering them. The mindset is anti-aspirational, the impact anti-family — yet the projected revenues are a drop in the bucket. Cameron should think very carefully about the un-Conservative course on which he seems set.
The Telegraph, London (March 8)