The Chief Executive of the Catholic charity Marriage Care welcomed the Government's greater commitment to supporting marriage pledged by the Prime Minister in a ringing endorsement of family life in London this week.
David Cameron, speaking at the Relationships Alliance summit, pledged to put families at the centre of new domestic policy-making. All policies will now be subject to a "family test", and will be revised if they fail to support families adequately.
Mr Cameron said relationship support funding returns as much as £11.50 to the taxpayer for every pound spent. He pledged to invest at least £7.5 million every year for as long as he is Prime Minister. Four years ago he increased funding for relationship support by 50 per cent, promising £7.5 million a year for four years.
Because of the work of organisations such as Marriage Care, thousands of couples today had stuck together and overcome the pressures that could have pushed them apart, the Prime Minister said. "For me, nothing matters more than family. It’s at the centre of my life and the heart of my politics," he said.
Relationship breakdown is estimated to cost the economy as much as £44 billion a year.
Mark Molden, chief executive of Marriage Care, the second largest provider of relationship counselling in England and Wales, said there was an "overwhelming" need for more family support, given that nearly half of all babies born today will experience their parents' separation by their late teens, and many of these will see their parents break up before the age of five.
Speaking to The Tablet, he said it would be ridiculous to give up under the weight of such need. "We have got to have hope," he added. "There's always more to be done. But Marriage Care and the Relationships Alliance welcome what's been announced and the Prime Minister's affirming the Government's role in supporting relationships and his personal commitment to that."