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A return to household-level taxation, as Mr Hunt wants, raises real concerns over disclosure of earnings within couples. Not all partners know how much each other earns, and tax experts say financial secrets within couples are more common than most people realise.

Sometimes there are good reasons for this, such as where one partner is abusive or controlling, meaning having a secret fallback fund may be necessary for survival. 

The fear is that under household-level taxation, where benefits would be automatically distributed based on both partners’ salaries, taxpayers’ financial secrets may be inadvertently revealed to their partners, potentially causing great harm.    

So if what seemed like a sensible fix will just add more complexity and a different set of serious problems, then why bother, I hear you ask? 

Well, it’s a very good question. But then why bother announcing a 2p cut to National Insurance before briefing media outlets that the tax be scrapped altogether just hours later? 

It seems Mr Hunt knows what we are all thinking – the British tax system is one almighty mess and needs completely ripping up and redesigning from scratch.

Problem is, he’s either too scared or lazy to just get on and do it. It should and could have happened years ago. But with a general election now looming around the corner, poorly considered solutions to tax quirks caused by layer upon layers of Tory tinkering, simply fail to inspire. 

Bolder moves were needed on Wednesday to show the public that our tax system is anything other than a total disaster. What a shame they didn’t come. 

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