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DWP report airbrushes out marriage

Date: April 26, 2013

DWP Social Justice report airbrushes out “marriage”, accuses Marriage Foundation

Government will never achieve its stated aim of reducing family breakdown and increasing family stability if it airbrushes out any mention of the word “marriage”, says the charity Marriage Foundation.

The new DWP report “Social Justice Transforming Lives One Year On” uncovers shocking new data from the Understanding Society survey on the prevalence of family breakdown in low income families – 65% of 12-16 year olds are not living with both natural parents.

Yet the report ties itself in knots, seemingly to avoid talking about marriage, whose absence is the main culprit.

The report talks about “supporting families”, citing evidence that “good quality and sustained parental relationships” give children the best possible start, stating that “the presence of the same two parents” is especially important, and linking child development problems with “negative experiences of family relationships”.

And yet the DWP claim that a “stable family environment will be influenced by a number of complex factors” does not include whether the parents are married.

Data from the 2001 Census shows that 97% of intact couples with 15 year old children are married. Data from the 2011 Census will be released later this year but is expected to show similarly high proportions. What more compelling factor could there be?

Marriage Foundation Director of Communications Harry Benson said “Government can’t solve the epidemic of family breakdown on its own. But they can at least name the main culprit. Until government addresses the trend away from marriage and stops pretending that it’s all about relationship quality, or that the minuscule funding for relationship support will deal a problem costing more than the defence budget, then family breakdown will continue its inexorable rise.”

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