Multiple wives mean financial gains for men in Britain. Men who marry several women are set for financial gains with the Labour government giving a go-ahead to such husbands to claim extra welfare benefits.
Under the deal that could cost British taxpayers millions of pounds, men with multiple wives may also be eligible for additional housing benefit and council tax benefit to reflect the larger property needed for his family. Even though polygamy is a crime in Britain, the decision of the government led by Prime Minister Gordon Brown means that such marriages can now be recognised formally by the state, so long as the weddings took place in countries where such arrangements are legal.
A Sunday Telegraph report based on a review by the government said the income support for the wives may be paid directly into the husband's bank account. The decision, which will mainly benefit Muslim men, has been flayed by the Opposition Conservative Party, who accused the government of offering preferential treatment to a "particular group".
"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," Chris Grayling, the shadow work and pensions secretary, was quoted as saying in the report. "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," Grayling said.