Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith has warned the government not to cut funding for relationship counselling.
In an article written for the Conservative Home news site, the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions called family breakdown an “enormous” problem facing the UK. He claimed that the cost of this issue “has been estimated conservatively at £48 billion per year”.
Not only was there a financial cost, “the risk of poor health from conditions such as coronary heart disease and raised blood pressure increases dramatically” for those going through the breakup of a family, he insisted. In fact, the health issues that stem from this are “equivalent to smoking a packet of cigarettes a day”.
Despite these consequences, Duncan Smith claims the government has asked civil servants to come up with “plans to cut the existing funding going to marriage guidance and other relationship counselling”, which he believes would be “a retrograde step”.
He wrote the article because he was concerned “that this is an area not much understood, or even cared about, … when ranged against other, much more expensive and high profile, areas of [government] expenditure”. If funding is cut, “innumerable families and couples will no longer be able to access marriage and relationship support” he warned.
Back in 2014, while he was a member of the Cabinet, Duncan Smith proposed free relationship counselling for new parents in order to reduce the instances of family breakdown.
Photo of Iain Duncan Smith by Brian Minkoff – London Pixels via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence.