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There's more to family policy than marriage, Relationships Foundation warns

Screen shot 2010-07-16 at 16.26.46By Paul Goodman

The Relationships Foundation is a Cambridge-based think-tank with a strongly Christian flavour.  It has a particular interest in trying to measure general well-being - a theme of David Cameron's in opposition while the economy was booming, but stressed less in government in finanically straightened times.

It warns today that Coalition disagreements over tax breaks for marriage - which the Guardian tried to stoke earlier this week - risk missing what it sees as the big picture – that "families affect everyone and they affect every part of life".  The Relationships Foundation has previously welcomed the Task Force for Childhood and Families.

Michael Trend, its Executive Director, said -

"The coalition must not get distracted by internal tensions. We have a great opportunity with the Task Force: it should be a permanent body at the heart of government setting the architecture for the coalition government’s long-term approach to families.  Only by getting the family right can we hope to increase wellbeing, improve social mobility and look for the ‘heavy lift’ which will essential to reduce the fiscal deficit.

“The married couple’s tax allowance threatens to become a distraction for the media and the parties. Instead the Task Force should ensure that policy in all areas contributes positively to the goal of strengthening families and improving children’s lives. It should consider how all policy can be ‘family proofed’ to ensure it positively influences families."

“Issues around the married couple’s tax allowance will have to be resolved. David Cameron made it a key message of the campaign and it is specifically mentioned in the coalition document. But it should be one strand of a broad range of policies aimed at supporting families. This new era of smaller government and the ‘big society’ can only work if families play their part. The government must actively support them in this role."


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