Four relationship charities have published a manifesto demanding that whoever wins the upcoming general election boosts support for couples and families.
Relate, OnePlusOne, Tavistock Relationships, and Marriage Care have formed the ‘Relationship Alliance’ and set out several key proposals for the government after 8 June.
These include the creation of a new cabinet position: a Minister for Families and Relationships. Their job would be to “raise awareness of the importance of good-quality relationships for wellbeing in all policy” the Alliance explained.
This new position should also come with national support for organisations like theirs which help couples stay together, the charities demanded. By the government’s own assessment, the Alliance manifesto reads, “relationship counselling could save £11.40 for every £1 spent”.
They also called for comprehensive sex and relationship education in schools to be taught by “trained, confident experts”; an increased government focus on out-of-court solutions for separating families; free relationship support services for low-income families; and the increased availability of couples’ depression therapy.
Relate Chief Executive Chris Sherwood claimed that bad relationships were “often at the root of so many of society’s problems including mental health issues, homelessness, debt and loneliness”. He urged “all political parties to focus on the importance of relationships as a basis of a thriving society when compiling their manifestos”. Such investments “makes economic sense but failing to do so will mean that money spent on public services could be wasted” he insisted.
Relate was founded in 1938 as the National Marriage Guidance Council. Clergyman co-founder Herbert Gray wanted to counter a then rising divorce rate.
Read the manifesto in full here.