FHN polling finds strong support across society for Chancellor to reduce family taxes in March Budget 

Posted 18th February 2024

Ahead of the March 6th Budget FHN carried out polling to find out what parents and the wider public think about current taxation policy and what the Chancellor’s priorities should be. Almost two thirds of those polled, regardless of age or life stage believe the UK income tax system fails to take into account the extra costs parents face in bringing up children. This perception is borne out by the FHN report’s international league table of family-friendly tax systems which places the UK in the ‘relegation zone’ with the fourth lowest level of support for families. 

This is rooted in the way our tax system taxes people as individuals and does not recognise the number of dependents a wage has to go around. Single people are taxed at almost exactly the same level in the UK as families supported by single major earners. Perversely this also affects eligibility for child benefit.  

Over half those polled agreed that family breakdown would be reduced if parents were under less financial strain and over 60% agreed that family breakdown led to worse outcomes for children affected. There was also very strong net agreement (+74 net) that ‘supporting families is not just about subsidising childcare or giving parents money, but providing a range of services, guidance and advice.’ 

Finally, family finance is becoming an election issue, with voters three times more likely than not to support the Government if there is a Budget for Families in March which cuts their taxes significantly. 

The report has four major recommendations for the government that our polling shows have clear public backing:  

  • Doubling the maximum value of the Marriage Allowance to £504, to soften further the disproportionately high tax burden faced by families with dependents where one parent earns nothing or significantly less than the other. Nearly half of the country (49 per cent) would support such a change (63 per cent of those expressing an opinion). 
  • An adjustment to Child Benefit to address its current anomalies (and complexities) where one parent earns at or around the withdrawal threshold. 
  • A fundamental review of how families are taxed which prioritises giving them choice about whether they want to be assessed jointly or as individuals. Almost 70 per cent of all respondents supported tying child benefit to family income rather than the income of individual parents. 
  • Further money for Family Hubs for the remaining local authority areas that have not yet received central government funding to improve and join-up the help and support available for families. 
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