Clegg to launch report attacking “moralising” married tax break

The Deputy PM’s appearance at the Demos launch will anger the Tory right, but is a relatively safe a

In a move that will anger the Tory right, Nick Clegg is to launch a Demos report (Times article: £) that criticises tax breaks for married couples, saying that the government should not "moralise".

The married tax allowance – which attracted much criticism from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats during the general election campaign – is an important issue for many Conservatives, particularly those on the right of the party. It was one of a set of policies aimed at reassuring this wing that David Cameron's government still had social conservatism and family values at its heart.

The study, The Home Front, describes the married tax allowance as a "weak tool" that will do nothing to improve the lives of children. It also finds that stable single-parent families provide a better environment for children than married couples who argue frequently.

Clegg, who was a vocal critic of the idea in opposition, will give a speech at the launch of the study praising all types of family. Though he is not expected to mention the issue of the married tax allowance directly, his appearance will send a clear message. It could ignite tensions between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative right, who are already fuming at the lacklustre by-election campaign that the Tory party fought in Oldham.

During the general election race, Clegg said:

David Cameron is plain wrong, totally wrong, to say that we, the country, should spend billions of pounds providing a tax bribe for people simply to hold up a marriage certificate.

It is immensely unfair. What does it mean for the poor woman who has been left by some philandering husband who goes on to another marriage and gets the tax break and she doesn't?

Along with student fees, it is one of the few issues that has a provision allowing the Lib Dems to abstain written into the coalition agreement.

After the Oldham result, Clegg was quick to declare that the fact that the Lib Dem vote held up showed that his party was still "strong, unified [and] independent". Perhaps he hopes to use the married tax break to reassert this and shore up support within his party. While it has the power to anger the marginalised Tory right, it is not an issue that is likely to split the coalition. As such, it is a relatively safe one to shout about.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Jeremy Corbyn to tell Labour: "Prepare for a 2017 general election"

The newly re-elected Labour leader will urge the party to unite.

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to warn Labour to prepare for a general election in 2017 at conference on Wednesday.

The newly re-elected Labour leader will say: "Whatever the Prime Minister says about snap elections, there is every chance that Theresa May will cut and run for an early election. 

“So I put our party on notice today. Labour is preparing for a general election in 2017, we expect all our members to support that effort, and we will be ready whenever it comes."

Urging the party to rebuild trust, he is to declare: "Every one of us knows that we will only get there if we accept the decision of the members, end trench warfare and work together to take on the Tories."

He will also set out ten Labour policy pledges, which include full employment, public ownership of services and a national education service.

On immigration, he is expected to say: "A Labour government will not offer false promises. We will not sow division or fan the flames of fear. 

"We will instead tackle the real issues of immigration – and make the real changes that are needed."

This includes reinstating the migrant impact fund, and tackling the exploitation of migrant workers.