Govt slammed for failing to make UK family-friendly

The Coalition Government has come under fire for failing to honour its pledge to make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe.

It is unclear whether the Childhood and Families Task Force announced by Nick Clegg last year to develop policy has even held any meetings.

And research has shown that many UK families pay nearly 40 per cent more in tax than those in other developed countries.

Response

Nick Clegg announced the launching of the task force last year, following calls on the Government from family organisations to honour its promises to put families at the heart of its policies.

But in a written response to a question from Labour MP Gavin Shuker, David Cameron refused to confirm whether the task force has ever met.

The Prime Minister, who chairs the committee, referred Mr Shuker to longstanding Government practice not to disclose information relating to ministerial meetings.

Delayed

Michael Trend, CEO of the charity Relationships Foundation, said: “When we and others asked the Government shortly after the election to put family at the heart of policy they told us this task force would do that.

“They have now delayed for months the question of how Britain will become the most family friendly country in Europe,” he said.

“Leadership is needed, but no-one knows who is in charge of family policy.”

Support

The task force was intended to address improved support for disabled children, parental leave and tackling family breakdown, as well as emotional support for families and children in the community.

And Christian charity CARE has discovered that the Coalition Government has let families down badly in relation to the tax burden as well.

A spokesman for the charity said “those in the middle who are not rich are shouldering a heavy burden”, commenting that this was “damaging family life” and was set to get worse.

Detailed

CARE’s report, entitled The Taxation of Families 2009/10, is a detailed assessment of the impact of the tax system on families compared with 33 other comparably developed countries.

Approximately 2.4 million children in the UK live in families where one parent works full-time and the other parent does not work.

UK single-earner families with two children on an income of £33,745 a year are paying 39 per cent more in tax than comparable families from other developed countries.

Warning

The report contains a warning that this disparity will worsen to 50 per cent by 2012/13, as the Coalition Government’s controversial decision to scrap child benefit for families where one parent earns more than £42,000 per year comes into force.

Single-earner families with two children in this income bracket will be faced with an immediate 25 per cent tax increase, compared with single people with no dependants on the same salary.

Nola Leach, CEO of CARE, said: “The treatment of married couples on modest and average incomes in the tax system remains unfair and out of line” with other developed countries.

“This failing is damaging family life”, she commented.

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