Govt pledges not to criminalise smacking in England

The UK Government has confirmed that it has no plans to criminalise parents in England who smack their children.

It follows recent moves to ban smacking in Scotland and Wales.

The Christian Institute called the statement a “welcome indication of the Government’s position”.

’No plans’

Education Minister Michelle Donelan MP wrote: “The government has no plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban parents from using physical punishment to chastise their child.

“The government does not wish to interfere in how loving families bring up their children. Legislation already exists to ban the beating of children by their parents”.

She was responding to a written question from Labour MP Steve Reed.

Last month, members of the Welsh Assembly voted 36 to 14 to remove the defence of reasonable chastisement.

Loving parents

The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said the statement was a “welcome indication” of the Government’s positon.

He added: “The Government has rightly recognised that families should be free from unwarranted state interference.

“Westminster must not make the mistake – as Wales and Scotland have – of criminalising loving parents for gently disciplining their children.”


Recent figures have revealed that the Welsh Government’s smacking ban is set to cost the taxpayer up to £8 million.

The Scottish Government, which will introduce a smacking ban later this year, has yet to produce a full breakdown of how much the ban will cost.