A group of charities, MPs and leading academics have called on the Government to do more to tackle family breakdown by tripling the current funding for preventative relationship support to £22 million. The call follows recent recognition from the Government that family breakdown is one of the root causes of child poverty.
In an open letter to The Telegraph, 72 key thought leaders on relationships and family breakdown including The Centre for Social Justice, Relate, Fiona Bruce MP and Professor Lord Layard, (London School of Economics) warn that the current funding for relationship support fails to match the scale of challenge to improve family stability.
Current levels of relationship breakdown cost the country an estimated £47 billion, but just £7.5 million is made available to fund support for relationships, the group of experts say.
They point out that family instability can have a significant effect on mental and physical health, workplace productivity and reoffending rates, and children’s educational attainment. Increasing funding to £22 million, they argue, would be enough to invest in interventions that make a difference and help boost children’s life chances.
“The Government has rightly recognised that family breakdown can have a huge impact on children’s life chances, and has committed itself to action on family stability,” said Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive at Relate. “However at present funding for the effective relationship support, that we know can deliver real savings to the public purse, is far from commensurate with the scale of the challenge.”
“The Government has put the relationships support sector in the frontline of its fight against child poverty,” he added. “Our children’s futures are a huge responsibility and if we are to make a real difference to the life chances of every child, real investment is needed. At Relate, additional funding would mean our existing successful support services could be rolled out to more people and especially to those most at risk of family breakdown.”
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