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Multiple Wives To Get Extra Benefits In UK

From the UK’s Times:

Multiple wives will mean multiple benefits

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
03/02/2008

Husbands with multiple wives have been given the go-ahead to claim extra welfare benefits following a year-long Government review, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, the decision by ministers means that polygamous marriages can now be recognised formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where the arrangement is legal.

The outcome will chiefly benefit Muslim men with more than one wife, as is permitted under Islamic law. Ministers estimate that up to a thousand polygamous partnerships exist in Britain, although they admit there is no exact record…

New guidelines on income support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) state: “Where there is a valid polygamous marriage the claimant and one spouse will be paid the couple rate … The amount payable for each additional spouse is presently £33.65.”

Income support for all of the wives may be paid directly into the husband’s bank account, if the family so choose. Under the deal agreed by ministers, a husband with multiple wives may also be eligible for additional housing benefit and council tax benefit to reflect the larger property needed for his family.

The ruling could cost taxpayers millions of pounds. Ministers launched a review of the benefit rules for polygamous marriages in November 2006, after it emerged that some families had benefited financially.

The review concluded in December last year with agreement that the extra benefits should continue to be paid, the Government admitted. The decision was not publicly announced.

Four departments – the Treasury, the DWP, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Home Office – were involved in the review, which concluded that recognising multiple marriages conducted overseas was “the best possible” option. In Britain, bigamy is punishable by up to seven years in prison…

While a married man cannot obtain a spouse visa to bring a second wife into Britain, some multiple partners may be able to enter the country via other legal routes such as tourist visas, student visas or work permits.

In addition, officials have identified a potential loophole by which a man can divorce his wife under British law while continuing to live with her as his spouse under Islamic law, and obtain a spouse visa for a foreign woman who he can legally marry

Chris Grayling, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said that the decision was “completely unjustifiable”.

“You are not allowed to have multiple marriages in the UK, so to have a situation where the benefits system is treating people in different ways is totally unacceptable and will serve to undermine confidence in the system.

“This sets a precedent that will lead to more demands for the culture of other countries to be reflected in UK law and the benefits system.”

Mr Grayling also accused the Government of trying to keep the ruling quiet because the topic is so controversial.

Of course £33.65 is only $66.15 at the current rate of exchange. So some might wonder if it is worth all of the extra bother.

Still, it’s another small step for man.

Another giant leap for Islamization.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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