FINANCES

For decades, government policy has had the aim of encouraging both parents to work instead of committing full time to caring for their children. We reject the philosophy that regards it as desirable that men and women approach family life and career in identical ways. We believe that each family should make its own decisions in this area, and the state’s role is to facilitate these choices. There is currently generous support for those opting for the twin income model, in the form of subsidised childcare. However, those favouring full-time parenthood are penalised rather than supported, paying high taxes to subsidise childcare for other families while receiving no help themselves.

Our policies are intended to redress the balance. Instead of treating married couples as two individuals for tax purposes, we should move to system that assesses them as a family. Tax allowances would, therefore, be fully transferable. Beyond that, we also would consider additional tax allowances while dependent children are living with parents. Variants on this system are common in other EU countries which do not have the same structural anti-family bias as the UK tax system. This is a reserved matter, so we press this case at the Westminster level, and urge that the necessary powers be devolved so that Scotland can lead the way in treating families fairly.

The need for a large, and therefore more expensive, home correlates with family size. Therefore, property-based Council Tax penalises families with children. Why should a mum and dad with three kids in a large family home pay more than a couple with no dependent children on the same income living in a smaller home and spending their money on a more lavish lifestyle instead? We would seek to offset this by either a Local Income Tax or Council Tax discounts for families with dependent children. Council Tax is a devolved matter, so we press this case at Holyrood level.

All benefits should be available regardless of family size.