'Cowardly' politicians must stand-up for marriage, says new report

(Photo: Unsplash/Nathan Dumlao)

A new report has hit out at a lack of support for marriage among senior politicians. 

Family Unfriendly Britain, by the Marriage Foundation, blames the decline in marriage in the UK on "cowardly senior politicians" and "anti-family" welfare policies that penalise poor couples who marry. 

It criticises years of tax and welfare policies that have failed to distinguish between married and cohabiting couples by offering financial incentives to marry. 

The report says that the government should be pro-active in bringing in measures that would boost marriage rates and reduce family breakdown. 

It points to Hungary as a model for increasing both marriage and fertility rates. 

In the UK, marriage rates fell by 13 per cent between 2010 and 2019, before plummeting by 61% during the first year of the pandemic. 

By contrast in Hungary, the marriage rate has risen in the last 13 years after the Hungarian government began introducing financial incentives, including tax breaks for newlyweds and up to £93,000 in loans that can be written off. 

"If the UK has any kind of family policy, it revolves around childcare and getting parents into work," the Marriage Foundation report reads.

"Aside from regulatory changes, government almost entirely avoids distinguishing marriage, the family form most closely associated with couple stability and beneficial child outcomes.

"It is nine years since any cabinet minister gave a serious speech discussing marriage.

"The UK government's ambivalent attitude towards marriage couldn't be more obvious than when comparing with the enthusiastically 'family friendly' Hungary."

Harry Benson, Marriage Foundation's Research Director, said, "Given all the evidence about the benefits of marrying including promoting stability, failing to acknowledge or even talk about it would seem cowardly and frit."