Home Life Style I’m sick of the ‘flat tax’ on holidays! Why should I pay £900 more for a cruise simply because I’m not married?

I’m sick of the ‘flat tax’ on holidays! Why should I pay £900 more for a cruise simply because I’m not married?

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 I'm sick of the 'flat tax' on holidays! Why should I pay £900 more for a cruise simply because I'm not married?

Not having kids means that, unlike some of my poor friends, my summer vacation is not dictated by the school schedule.

While they pay a lot in August, I can fly somewhere in June or September. So that must mean that my freedom to travel whenever I want will net me a real bargain… right? Mistaken. It would be enough if I were in a relationship, but since I’m single I can expect to be treated completely differently because I don’t have a ring on my finger.

The dreaded “single supplement”, a penalty for traveling alone, is still widely used throughout the travel industry despite repeated calls to ban such an outdated practice.

Last week, when I started planning my summer vacation, I took a look at the First Choice website and took a week-long break in Santorini, Greece. A flight and room only deal to stay at the simple but impressive Mathios Village resort would cost me £976 if I was traveling in early June. Then I discovered that if I were part of a couple, the exact same holiday would only cost me £747.

“Why does it cost me £2,699 for a 14-day Mediterranean cruise with MSC in July, when a couple only pays £1,799 each?” asks Claudia Connell.

At least they were willing to offer me a room, albeit with a surcharge. I guess I should be pathetically grateful for that, because many vacations that were available to couples were, strangely, not available to single travelers.

I decided to look for all-inclusive deals, where the news was even worse! On the Tui website, a week at Domes Autograph Collection in Zante would cost me £2,846, including flight. For that I would receive three meals a day, snacks and unlimited alcoholic beverages. For a couple, the price suddenly dropped to £1,799 per person.

How does that make any sense? Two people are going to eat and drink much more than one.

My fury grew as I looked at the cruise ships. Why does it cost me £2,699 for a 14-day Mediterranean cruise with MSC in July, when a couple only pays £1,799 each? I can fill my plate and drink pina coladas with the best ones, but I’d have to go a little further to spend £900 more on food and cocktails.

Do they think us singles are so sad that we’ll drown our sorrows in sauvignon blanc and hog the buffet on a superhuman scale?

I’m so angry that we’ll still have to put up with this in 2024 that I’m seriously considering booking a vacation for me and my made-up husband and then, once during the vacation, saying he’d dumped me that week. before. Clever, but worth a try if you save a thousand dollars.

These sanctions or ‘single tax’ are not limited to travel. In 2018, it was estimated that it cost a single person £2,049 more to live than a couple. Today, according to research by financial planners Hargreave Lansdown, that figure is £10,320.

Next month the term of my current mortgage ends. My broker is working hard to find me the best possible deal but it looks like I will have to pay an extra £500 a month. Imagine how much more bearable it would be if you could share it with someone else. And that’s before we get to the £7,000 a year I’m shelling out on utilities and insurance. The measly 25 per cent discount I get on my council tax has barely any impact.

If I could get a husband between now and next month, when my car insurance is up for renewal, I could save a few quid. Yes, single drivers pay more for insurance than married drivers.

Aviva will insure me as a single for £403 but as a married person they will reduce it to £377.

M&S will insure me for £807 but will give me £13 off the price if I am a ‘Madam’.

Insurers consider married people to be more stable and less likely to take risks. Oh yeah, that’s me, always doing handbrake turns in disused car parks at midnight.

The truth is that I have woefully low mileage and mainly use my little Mini Cooper to go to Sainsbury’s and drive to friends’ houses. What a reckless risk taker! In 2012, insurers were banned from penalizing customers based solely on gender. However, it seems that penalizing for marital status is fine.

Lately I feel like I’m constantly biting my tongue when couples, especially those with kids, complain about the cost of living.

No one denies that it can be expensive to have children, but there is help available to help with those expenses.

Married couples get tax breaks and a couple, on my salary, with two children would receive £2,213 a year in child benefit plus up to 30 hours of free childcare if the children are not of school age.

The unfairness of all this was never more evident than when the Government handed out Covid grants to the self-employed in 2020. No one earning more than £50,000 a year was entitled to a bean; Alright, that’s not exactly a pittance. However, a couple who lived together and earned £49,999 each were entitled to claim a free dose that they would never have to pay back.

When it comes to the cost of living, food bills are where many have noticed the biggest impacts on their wallets. And you’ll never guess who bears the brunt of that… step up, the singles, who pay up to 25 percent more just to feed us.

Despite single-family households being the fastest-growing demographic in the world (there are 8.3 million in the UK alone), most food is packaged with two or four people in mind.

Claudia Connell laments the fact that single people pay up to 25 percent more just to feed themselves

Claudia Connell laments the fact that single people pay up to 25 percent more just to feed themselves

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference lasagne for two costs £6.50. A serving for one costs £4.25. At Ocado, a 500g container of their lean mince costs £3.49, but at £2.20 for half the size (250g) it’s certainly not half the price.

If you increase the portion sizes from ‘four servings’, prices will be even lower, leaving those who live alone with two options: save but eat the same thing all week, or buy one and bear the extra cost.

Even going out to eat can be a miserable experience, as you’re offered a seat at the bar or table by the door that no one else wants. Open the menu and you may even be prohibited from ordering certain dishes. Paella? Beef Wellington? Salmon en croute? Not unless there is someone with you to share it with.

It is not only people who have never married who are being hit, but also widows and divorcees. Gyms, railway companies, the National Trust and many others seem to want to rip off singles rather than throw us a bone.

That’s why I would welcome the opportunity to buy Belgian politician Carla Dejonghe a drink if I ever got the chance. Aware that single people are paying more than they should for almost everything, she has spent a decade campaigning for fairer treatment.

In his municipality, on the outskirts of Brussels, he has helped push a new charter that encourages hospitality venues to be more inclusive for single people, recommends that new housing include communal areas for socializing, and calls on venues to work that they stop depending too much on single people to work overtime. .

As Dejonghe said, “society has evolved but policies have not.”

We are all feeling the pressure, but if you are a dual-income household then, believe me, your pressure is much less painful than what is currently affecting single people across the country.

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