Marriage tax break 'hits women'

wedding rings

The Government wants to take money from women's purses and put it into men's wallets, Labour's equality spokeswoman claimed today.

Gloria De Piero opened an Opposition Day debate on women and equality by arguing the Government is making it harder for women to work.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%And the shadow equality minister attacked the Conservatives' flagship policy to introduce a marriage tax allowance.

She said: "It won't even benefit most married couples. In five out of six couples, this will represent a transfer from the purse to the wallet.

"Money to the married man on his third wife, while the single mum left behind to bring up the kids won't get anything at all.

"This Government is taking a lot away from the purse to put a little bit back in the wallet. It matters not simply for women's lives and women's equality, increasing women's employment helped the last Labour government lift over a million children out of poverty.

"But all this progress is now at risk."

Labour's motion calls on the Government to support more women into work by extending free nursery places for three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours a week for parents at work, provide a legal guarantee for 8am-6pm breakfast and afterschool club childcare, and bring in Make Work Pay contracts to provide a 12 months tax rebate for firms which sign up to pay the living wage.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Nicky Morgan, however, said that women were better off under the coalition than under Labour.

Evoking the spirit of Conservative former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, she repeated her famous quote: "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."

Ms Morgan said it was her favourite quote.

She told the Commons: "There are more women in work than ever before.

"And since the Government came to power there are nearly 450,000 more women in employment and nearly 300,000 women are economically inactive and we should be celebrating the fact that there are so many women now in the labour market."

Ms Morgan said "not only are there more women in the workplace, the pay gap is shrinking, having fallen by nearly 1% last year so it now sits at just 9.6%."

Conservative backbencher George Hollingberry said that the coalition had helped to end the "cliff edge" of part-time work for women.

Turning to Ms Morgan, he asked: "Would you agree with me that one thing this Government has done, is look at how households work, looked at how income comes into them and recognise that there is a real cliff edge at 16 hours' of work, which means that incomes drop away or, rather, every pound that you earn, 95p gets taken away in reduced benefits.

"This is a fundamental change that will change the position of women and allow them to take full-time work, something that the party opposite failed to deal with in their entire 13 years."

But according to Labour MP for Feltham and Heston Seema Malhotra of the new jobs created since 2010: "63% of jobs that have been created have gone to men and 37% to women".

Labour's motion was defeated with 284 votes against 229, a majority of 55.

The most expensive weddings that ended in divorce
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Marriage tax break 'hits women'

The reality star and the basketball star are the most extreme example on our list. They married in style in August 2011 - with a perfume launch designed to coincide with the day. The total cost was said to be $10 million, with much of the cost covered by a magazine deal and individual arrangements with suppliers - including a $20,000 Vera Wang dress and a $6,000 cake. Their marriage lasted 72 days before she filed for divorce because of irreconcilable differences.
The Big Brother fake and the boy band member met on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 and were married the same year. They had an extravagant ceremony for 45 people at Dartmouth House in Mayfair, with a dress designed by Elizabeth Emanual - who designed Princess Diana's dress. The ceremony was thought to have been paid for out of the £300,000 magazine deal for the photographs. They split after ten months of marriage.
The most expensive wedding on the list is the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana with an estimated cost of £50 million in real terms, including a five foot high cake. They were divorced ten years later.
The couple were married in New York in 2002 at a cost of $3.5 million. The best man was Michael Jackson, and the maid of honour Elizabeth Taylor. Among the entertainment that evening was a performance by Stevie Wonder. Sadly the couple split the following year, and divorced five years later.
The couple married in 1991 at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, in a ceremony said to have cost $2 million. Michael Jackson even stood in as father of the bride. The couple split five years later.
The couple are said to have spent $2 million on their 2006 wedding in an Italian castle, featuring entertainment from Andrea Boccelli. They divorced after five years of marriage.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills spent around $3 million on their wedding in June 2002 - renting Castle Leslie in Monaghan, Ireland, laying on a firework display thought to have cost £100,000 and a wedding dress said to have set them back more than £20,000. They divorced in 2007.

The couple were fairly restrained in terms of this list, spending $500,000 on their Manhattan wedding in 1993, featuring a Vera Wang dress with a 27-foot-train. However, they also succumbed to the five year rule, and divorced in 1998.
The darlings of Hollywood married in 2000 at a cost of $1 million. The LA ceremony was decorated with 50,000 flowers, and finished with a 13 minute fireworks display. They divorced five years later. 
The British director and the America superstar were married in Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. Guests included Gwyneth Paltrow, Sting and Trudy Styler. Madonna wore a diamond tiara once owned by Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. The couple survived the five year point that floored so many others, but divorced after eight years of marriage.
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