Election time!

Dec 1, 2019 by

from The Marriage Foundation:

Election time! The manifestos are out and the parties are trying to look beyond Brexit …Much of it boils down to money. How much, what for, who pays.

But the state isn’t the only – or even main – means of support for families.What happens at home is what matters most. It frames how we see the world. It gives us identity. And it provides our main source of support.

So what policies do the parties offer that might strengthen families?Where are the family policies?Maybe they don’t want to judge. Maybe it’s fear of hypocrisy. Or maybe they assume family dysfunction and breakdown are inevitable. It happens or it doesn’t. Families do well or badly, stay together or split, fight or thrive.

But when it comes to policies that could influence and support family life at home, our politicians are universally silent.I’ve read all the main manifestos.There’s lots on ‘families’ and ‘parents’ – by which they mostly mean ‘people’.

There are policies to help with childcare, education, employment, and boost Surestart or children’s centres. Marriage gets a mention but only in the context of equal or forced marriage, except the Lib Dems who want to scrap the Marriage Tax Allowance. Labour and the Lib Dems will continue with ‘no fault divorce’, while the Tories have said as much but not in their manifesto. The Tories are the only ones to mention ‘family breakdown’, but only as a consequence of drug abuse.

In all this, there’s not a single word on how government might encourage parental stability or reduce family breakdown. Zero. Nothing.Yet government is deeply involved when family goes wrong. The taxpayer picks up the pieces of family breakdown to the tune of some £51 billion every year.Manifesto policies talk about this a lot. Mental health is a perfect example.All of the parties have talked about how to improve mental health services, how to identify those with problems and how to get help for them. All good stuff.Yet not one of them has thought to ask if there might be a way to stop some of the mental health fallout before it happens.

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