Government policies will be put to the 'family test'

Aug 18, 2014

PM announces new measures to 'support and strengthen' family life including doubling counselling budget

Rob Stothard/Getty Images

David Cameron has said his government is committed to doing everything possible to "support and strengthen family life in Britain today" and has unveiled plans to introduce a 'family test' for all new government policies.

In a speech to the Relationships Alliance, he said the government should play its part in helping people "come together and stay together". The test will examine how policies will affect family life before they are implemented and is expected to begin in October.

Cameron admitted that some government policies have had a negative impact on family life in the past,  citing examples such as "the benefits system incentivising couples to live apart" or punishing those who choose to work. He also said that "excessive bureaucracy [has prevented] loving couples from adopting children with no family at all".

"We can't go on having government taking decisions like this which ignore the impact on the family", he said.

As part of the government's new plan he also announced that:

  • The budget for relationship counselling available to couples would be doubled to £19.5 million
  • The adoption process would be reformed and speeded up so families do not travel abroad to adopt
  • The level of assistance for so-called "troubled families" suffering from domestic abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, debt, or unemployment would be increased

Cameron has been criticised by Labour for failing to understand the needs of the average family, the BBC reports. "It's all very well David Cameron saying he's in favour of the family," said shadow education secretary Tristran Hunt, "but his [existing] economic policies are undermining the viability of the family in Britain today."

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