David Cameron’s coalition Government has failed to support marriage and done “almost nothing” to address family breakdown, according to a scathing new ‘report card’ by an influential think-tank.
It warns that Mr Cameron’s pre-election promise of tax breaks for married couples appears to have “moved off radar” because of his party’s partnership with the Liberal Democrats.
While serving as leader of the Opposition Mr Cameron pledged to make Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe.
But the report, released today by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), awards Ministers just two marks out of ten for their approach to family breakdown and brands the Coalition’s family policy as “a disappointing continuation of the last Government’s failed approach”.
Though the think-tank, which was established by Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, concedes that marriage is not a “magic bullet”, it insists that children born outside of marriage are more likely to grow up in poverty and experience poor life outcomes.
The report card of the Coalition’s first year in Government says: “Changing the culture so that family stability is valued by society requires strong leadership within government and bold decision-making.
“Strong, stable families are central to improving outcomes for our children.
“Strengthening families requires supporting marriage – a structure that tends to produce better outcomes – helping people build strong relationships, and providing coordinated help for our most complex and chaotic families.”
The report also assessed the Coalition’s record in a number of other areas including tackling drug and alcohol addiction.
Earlier this year Jill Kirby, a respected author and policy analyst, criticised David Cameron for the “toning down of his rhetoric” on marriage following the Conservative party’s partnership with the Liberal Democrats in Government.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph she said that the popular assumption that cohabitation is the same as marriage is a “myth”.
She pointed to statistics showing that among cohabiting parents, the rate of relationship breakdown is far higher than that of married families.