Raising the personal allowance: a Mephistophelean idea

The Economist has repeatedly criticised the Conservative Party’s proposal to permit married couples to pool their income tax allowances. The plan would benefit single-breadwinner families, who, under the present system, are effectively waiving the Personal Allowance of the non-working partner. The magazine deemed the proposal both paternalistic, for trying to “tempt couples down the aisle” and regressive: “most of the poorest families would not benefit. […] of the 3.9m children living in poverty only 11% would stand to gain.”

Dr Kristian Niemietz is the IEA's Editorial Director, and Head of Political Economy. Kristian studied Economics at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Universidad de Salamanca, graduating in 2007 as Diplom-Volkswirt (≈MSc in Economics). During his studies, he interned at the Central Bank of Bolivia (2004), the National Statistics Office of Paraguay (2005), and at the IEA (2006). He also studied Political Economy at King's College London, graduating in 2013 with a PhD. Kristian previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Berlin-based Institute for Free Enterprise (IUF), and taught Economics at King's College London. He is the author of the books "Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies" (2019), "Universal Healthcare Without The NHS" (2016), "Redefining The Poverty Debate" (2012) and "A New Understanding of Poverty" (2011).