Report says married couples are more likely to have successful family 

Daily Mail 26 April 2016
Family First Comment: UK politicians have the same ideological blind-spot as NZ politicians. A UK Government report states the obvious, but then the government excludes all references to ‘marriage’ in the follow-up discussion. #headinthesand #elephantintheroom

Marriage matters and is a central factor in children’s chances of success in life, according to a Government report.

Children do worse if they are brought up by a lone parent or by parents who are not married, researchers found.

The large-scale report rejects the idea that marriage is no more than a lifestyle option or a choice favoured by better-off couples, and presents powerful fresh evidence that a couple who commit to each other with a wedding are much more likely to have a successful family.

It comes amid warnings by critics that David Cameron’s drive to support the institution of marriage is slipping off the Whitehall agenda.

Produced by a team of academics from Sussex University for the Department of Work and Pensions, the analysis is aimed at identifying ways to improve relationships between couples and the life chances of their children.

The findings said: ‘Evidence shows that child outcomes tend to be worse on average in lone-parent and non-married families.’

The researchers added that it is difficult to separate out the effects of having married parents on the health and behaviour of children.

‘Family structure, family breakdown and family relationship quality are all closely intertwined, making it difficult to distinguish the causal effect of each factor,’ the report concluded.

The 134-page report, written by a group headed by Professor Gordon Harold, was based on a review of existing evidence and analysis of the Understanding Society survey, which follows the lives of people in 40,000 homes.

It was available to ministers two weeks ago, when Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb made his first major speech in the post.

But despite the new evidence available to his department, Mr Crabb chose to cut planned references to the importance of marriage from his speech.

In a move taken to indicate a lessening of enthusiasm from promoting marriage in the Government, he dropped passages in which he had intended to warn that it is not good for children to be brought up in lone parent family, and which asserted that ministers do a ‘huge disservice’ if they are ‘neutral on family structure’.

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