David Cameron has promised targeted help for the most dysfunctional families and more support for couples in failing relationships.
Reaffirming his commitment to the family, the Prime Minister signalled a new emphasis on promoting stable relationships between parents.
He acknowledged that some would advise the Government to “stay clear” of the issue. But he insisted it is wrong to ignore something that affects children’s life chances and leads to many of the country’s social problems.
“The whole country pays the price of failing relationships, so discussing the issue should be part of our politics,” he said in a speech to Relate.
Mr Cameron announced that Government spending on relationship support would be increased from £5 million to £7.5 million a year. Organisations such as Relate would also be allowed to use Government buildings for accommodation outside office hours.
The Prime Minister announced that up to 500 of the most troubled families would receive targeted support as part of a trialled approach to be run by entrepreneur Emma Harrison.
“What works is focused, personalised support – someone the family trusts coming into their home to help them improve their lives step-by-step, month-by-month,” he said.
The Government would be providing funding for the scheme, designed to “get these families back into work and on their feet”. The Government believes about 120,000 struggling families need help with problems such as poor health, drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment and difficulties controlling their children.
The Prime Minister also restated his commitment to introducing tax breaks for married couples – another point of conflict with the Tories’ Liberal Democrat coalition partners.
“Of course, I know not everyone agrees with this proposal – and as part of the coalition agreement we have agreed with the Liberal Democrats that they will abstain on any budget resolutions on transferable tax allowances for married couples,” he said. “But my view remains that we should recognise and value the commitment that people make to one another.”