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CSJ report to provide "Tory blueprint for the family"

DUNCAN SMITH DECEMBER 07 The Daily Mail this morning previews the Centre for Social Justice's forthcoming Family Law Review, which will set out policy proposals to put strengthening marriage "at the heart of a Conservative strategy to reverse family breakdown".

CSJ Chairman Iain Duncan Smith is hailing the document as "a landmark report" which will amount to "a comprehensive legal blueprint for shoring up marriage and the family and reversing more than 30 years of official neglect and social decay".

Among the proposals contained in the report - to be published - later in the month - are:

  • Transferable tax breaks for married couples worth around £20 a week
  • Legal changes to make divorce more difficult
  • Australia-style family relationship centres acting as a one-stop shop offering advice and support
  • An end to the "couple penalty" in the benefits system
  • Prenuptial agreements make legally binding to encourage marriage

According to an excerpt cited in the Mail, the report will conlcude:

"The breakdown of marriage and other, less stable, relationships generate real financial costs to society - not only the direct costs of supporting lone parents, but also indirect impacts on employment, education, health, crime, police and prisons... It is clear that marriage is good for society and yet research indicates that while aspirations are high for marriage, and married couples prize their relationships, there is a sense that sections of society do not place a high enough value on or truly recognise the benefits of marriage.

"Marriage is of paramount importance to individuals, children, communities and our nation. It has been neglected by Parliament over many years. An inappropriate anxiety not to exclude or to appear to cast judgment on other lifestyle relationships has resulted in marriage being devalued. It has suffered in terms of central government and local government funding, fiscal opportunities, welfare benefit opportunities, legal reforms and other incentives."

Jonathan Isaby

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