Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cameron to support the family?

Action, please: messages of support to David Cameron on this issue would be welcome. He is going to need encouragement if this policy is to survive his general strategy, which seems to be to avoid causing offence to anti-life and anti-family activists (see here and here). The report at the basis of the story was written by Iain Duncan Smith, who refused to condemn homosexual adoption during the SORs crisis: see here. See our briefing on the tax and benefit system's attack on the family here.

From CFNews: Britain's conservative leader David Cameron signalled this week that he will go into the next election pledging a root-and-branch review of Britain's tax and benefits in favour of marriage. The Tory leader has already said he wants to restore tax breaks for married couples, but on Sunday stressed the need to 'go right through our tax and benefits system and ask ourselves why it is encouraging people to live separately'. The promise appears to set out clear battle lines with Gordon Brown, who has already ruled out restoring tax help for married couples as unfair to unmarried couples and single parents.

In an article in Monday's 'Telegraph', Janet Daly drew attention to the hard fact 'based on overwhelming evidence: children are far less likely to fall into crime and addiction, to fail at school and to end up as teenage parents if they are raised by two parents who remain together. And those two parents are far more likely to remain together if they are married than if they are cohabiting. The statistical support for these propositions is now so crushing as to extinguish any rational argument to the contrary. All that remains for anyone with a serious intention of improving the health of British social life is to offer mechanisms that will encourage and support the two-parent family structure, while attempting as humanely as possible to salvage the condition of those who find themselves outside of it. To those who believe that even the utterance of such words constitutes anachronistic bigotry, can I point out that there is also a mountain of evidence to show that most single mothers themselves believe that marriage is the ideal state for raising children.

The great majority of single women with children say that they want a man who will make a lifelong commitment to them and their families. Which brings us to the question of how things now stand, and what is to be done. At the moment, those single mothers who would like nothing more than a married partner with whom to raise their children - not to mention the rest of us whose lives are affected by the consequences of their plight - are being actively sabotaged by the tax and benefit system. For single parents living on the margins in precisely those deprived sections of the community about which we are all concerned, the financial advantages of remaining apart and the concomitant penalties for living together are now so great as to constitute a positive barrier to the kind of family structure that is most likely to protect their children from disaster. This column has rehearsed these arguments over and over again but at the risk of stupefying tedium, I will relate just one damning statistic that Frank Field published recently: on the present tax credit system, a couple with two children would have to work 100 hours more to get the same take-home pay as a single parent with two children. So what would it take to reverse this absurd and wicked state of affairs in which parents are being bribed by the state to remain apart, and fathers who are inclined to be feckless have an ideal pretext for remaining so'? [Telegraph]

Despite its myriad challenges, living together isn't enough to put most couples off the idea of marriage, according to a new survey. Despite figures suggesting the institution is in terminal decline, three out of four young co-habitees say they will tie the knot one day. The findings add to growing evidence that tax reforms which make it financially beneficial to stay single are to blame for the falling number of weddings. It was revealed last week that only 12 out of every 1,000 single people in the UK married in 2005, the lowest rate on record. The latest survey does not examine in depth the reasons that people appear to be waiting longer before marrying, but it did find that many mothers have identified the financial advantages.

Researcher Dr Ernestina Coast, of the London School of Economics, examined the views of cohabiting couples under the age of 35 as given in the British Household Panel Survey, a database which has traced the lives of more than 10,000 people since the early 1990s. 'When questioned about their future intentions, three quarters of men and women reported that they were planning to, or probably would, get married,' said Dr Coast. She said the majority said there were no positive advantages to living together rather than marrying. But many of that majority were childless couples. Her analysis found a major difference in the views of those who had children. 'When questioned about the reasons for viewing cohabitation as being advantageous compared with marriage, mothers are significantly more likely to report financial advantages than fathers,' she said. 'Childless women are significantly more likely to see cohabitation as a trial marriage than cohabiting women who are already mothers.' [Telegraph]

No comments:

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen