The government must do more to promote family stability and fight relationship breakdown, a number of prominent public figures have declared.
In a newly published open letter, Members of Parliament, charity chief executives and academics called on the government to treble the money it spends on relationship support to £22 million.
Such a boost would create “much‑needed investment for interventions that we know make a difference” and would also be beneficial for children, the letter read.
Published in The Telegraph, the letter claimed that the annual cost of relationship breakdown in the UK is an estimated £47 million. Despite this, the government currently only spends around £7.5 million a year on preventative measures such as relationship counselling.
Among the signatories to the letter was the chief executive of relationship charity Relate Chris Sherwood. He said that the current level of government spending on this issue was “far from commensurate with the scale of the challenge”.
He added that “additional funding would mean [Relate’s] existing successful support services could be rolled out to more people and especially to those most at risk of family breakdown”.
Associate Director for Families and Mental Health at the Centre for Social Justice Dr Samantha Callan also signed the letter. She said that while the coalition government “spent more on relationship support than any previous administration”, the total “barely scratches the surface” of the problem.
An increase in funding for services which help prevent relationship breakdown is necessary because “more than half of the prison population come from broken homes, and a quarter spent time in care as a child”, she asserted.
Other signatories to the letter included former High Court judge and founder of the Marriage Foundation Sir Paul Coleridge. It was also signed by MPs from both the Conservative and Labour parties. Conservatives Fiona Bruce, Caroline Ansell and Jeremy Lefroy were joined by Labour’s Jon Cruddas and Graham Allen.