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The Centre for Social Justice attacks Clegg for anti-marriage speech

By Tim Montgomerie
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As you can read on today's ConHome frontpage Nick Clegg is using a speech to attack Tory policy on marriage and family life. 10 Downing Street interpret the speech as an attempt by Nick Clegg to quell unrest within his party after last week's EU veto. David Cameron's advisers fear that one consequence of the EU issue will be that progress on other Coalition business - unrelated to Europe - is likely, at least for a time, to become more difficult.

CENTRE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICEThe Centre for Social Justice has issued a response to Mr Clegg's intervention, defending the importance of marriage:

  1. "Marriage brings stability: just one in 11 married couples split before their child’s fifth birthday compared to 1 in 3 unmarried couples.
  2. Marriage is directly linked to better mental and physical health amongst adults. The same benefits are not found amongst co-habiting couples, it is specifically a ‘Marriage Effect’.
  3. Marriage reduces the risk of violence and abuse. Children growing up in lone parent or broken families are between 3 and 6 times more likely to suffer serious abuse than those growing up with both biological parents, and the risk of domestic violence is significantly increased for co-habiting women than married women.
  4. Marriage leads to better mental health for children. Children of lone parents are more than twice as likely to suffer mental health problems than children of married couples, and those of co-habiting couples are 75 per cent more likely to have mental health problems than their peers with married parents.
  5. Marriage leads to better life outcomes for children. Children of married parents are more likely to achieve at school, less likely to use drink and drugs and less likely to get involved delinquent or offending behaviour."

Gavin Poole, the Executive Director of the CSJ commented:

“Nick Clegg’s stance flies in the face of all the evidence, completely ignoring national and international data demonstrating how important marriage is to the health and well-being of children and families. Marriage is important because 1 in 3 couples who live together when a child is born split up before that child is five, compared to only 1 in 11 married couples. The Centre for Social Justice have repeatedly called for a tax break for marriage and an end to the couple penalty in the welfare system as a strong signal and vote of support in the institution and as a way of reversing decades of decline in our society.”

Polling by YouGov for the Centree of Social Justice found that "70% of those expressing an opinion support introducing an extra tax allowance for married couples" (PDF).

> On Friday the CSJ's Samantha Callan wrote: The Government is missing a coherent policy to challenge family breakdown


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