Marriage Foundation welcomes the Prime Minister’s support for the family but warns that without explicit support for marriage, the new initiatives will have little or no impact on family breakdown.
“Actions speak louder than words,” said Research Director Harry Benson. “Coalition policies during their first four years in government would struggle to pass a ‘family test’. We have a tax credit system that pays couples up to £7,100 more to live apart than together, a tax system that penalises single earners who choose to leave one parent at home, and a raft of government forms that pretend living together is the equal of marriage. In terms of stability, it is anything but.”
“Our vast £46 billion annual bill for family breakdown – more than the entire defence budget – cries out for a genuine family policy that explicitly supports, encourages and incentivises marriage. Almost all couples – 93% – who remain intact until their children finish school are married.
- If we want to see more children brought up by both parents rather than one, we need more marriages.
- If we want less family fragmentation – that contributes to the housing crisis, for example – we need more marriages.
- If we want more couples with the capacity to care for the elderly, we need more marriages.
“Family breakdown is not inevitable. But so much is driven by the trend away from marriage. Few couples who don’t marry, who don’t make that explicit commitment to their future together, remain together while they bring up their children.
“Mr Cameron has long stated his enthusiasm for commitment and marriage. He is right. So ‘family test’ needs to mean ‘marriage test’.”