Burnham backs marriage tax breaks

Married couples should receive tax breaks to reward them for their commitment, Andy Burnham has argued today.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the chief secretary to the Treasury said he felt the tax system should reflect the opinion that “marriage is best for kids”.

The move has attracted criticism from the Conservatives, who claim the government is adopting more of their proposals in a U-turn manoeuvre.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: “For two years David Cameron has been making the case for recognising marriage in the tax system and Gordon Brown has been attacking him for it.

“This is further confirmation that we are in command of the agenda in British politics and the government doesn’t know whether it is coming or going.”

The prime minister underlined his consistent approach to the issue in last month’s conference speech.

Mr Brown used Biblical references to defend his ongoing commitment to all children benefiting from the state.

Mr Burnham defended himself against criticisms that his stance today clashes with that of Mr Brown, saying his thinking was “totally where Gordon is coming from”.

“I don’t think the Tories should have a monopoly on this kind of thinking,” Mr Burnham added.

“In an abstract way, I think it’s better when children are in a home where their parents are married and I think children do notice if their parents are married or not.”