“Marriage-rich” cabinet need to back marriage

New Marriage Foundation data has shown that 25 out of 26 of the Cabinet MPs’ constituencies back marriage as the best family structure to raise children.

In almost all of the constituencies represented by Theresa May’s Cabinet, the majority of constituents with dependent children have chosen to get married.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt represents the constituency with the fifth highest number of married parents in the country, with 74 per cent of parents married, while the Prime Minister’s seat of Maidenhead is in the top 25 with 72 per cent of parents married.

Ten MPs, including the Chancellor Philip Hammond, the Brexit Secretary David Davis and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, all have constituencies in the top decile (10 percent) of most ‘marriage-rich’ constituencies in the UK, where more than 68 percent of families are married. The UK average is 58 per cent.

At the other end of the stability scale, one in five UK constituencies (124 out of 650) has a majority of parents either in cohabiting or single parent households. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, representing Hastings and Rye, is the only Cabinet member in this group, with 47 per cent married.

Of the Cabinet members themselves, 89 per cent (24 out of 27) are currently married and all but one (96 per cent) have been married at some stage.

Harry Benson, Research Director of Marriage Foundation, commented: “The members of Theresa May’s Cabinet are in the happy position of presiding over some of the most stable constituencies in the country in terms of family stability.

“In their own personal choices, and in the constituencies they represent, Cabinet members recognise the importance of marriage in creating stable, committed families. Compared to the least stable inner city areas, their constituents are twice as likely to be married and less than half as likely to be lone parents.

“The UK tops the developed world in terms of family breakdown. This is surely our least wanted title. The driving force has been the trend away from marriage. Whereas 24 per cent of parents who are married when their child is born split up compared to 69 per cent of parents who are not married, the odds are stacked against for couples who don’t marry.

“The consequence is that half of all our teens are not living with both parents. That should be a national scandal. We owe it to the next generation of children to get serious about marriage as a crucial public health issue. Let’s see our Cabinet’s obvious personal support for marriage translate to a desperately needed big statement of support for marriage in their new manifesto.”

Sir Paul Coleridge, chairman of Marriage Foundation, commented: “We have come to a crunch point for our political leaders. They have the chance now in their forthcoming manifesto to promise to stem the tide of family breakdown by acknowledging and championing the role of marriage in cementing family stability.

“In practical terms, they should act to counter the anti-marriage incentives in the welfare system that punish a couple for moving in together – the so-called ‘couples penalty.’ They could do this by increasing the marriage tax allowance from the current pitiful sum of £200 a year to £2,000.

“People by large want to get married. It is inexcusable for a government to create a financial penalty for those who do.

“The reason I set up Marriage Foundation was as a response to the catastrophe of family breakdown that I witnessed over forty four years in the family courts.

“To me, the fact that almost half of young people have experience family breakdown is not a mere statistic, but a story of millions of children enduring the most severe trauma at a vulnerable time in their lives.

“Family breakdown disproportionally affects the poor. It is a matter of social justice which the Government must get serious in tackling now when they have the chance.

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Here you can download the Research Briefing Paper as a PDF and the Press Release where it is available.

Media Links

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