Welfare minister Lord Freud has warned that the cost of family breakdown could be much higher than the welfare bill suggests. Commenting on what the government is doing to ensure families stay together, the minister said that the real costs of breakdown are “far higher” and “far deeper” than we imagine.
Writing in today’s Telegraph, Lord Freud said that the best way to both reduce the cost of welfare and ensure the wellbeing of future generations is to “ensure that stable families are in place.”
Describing rising levels of divorce and family breakdown as a “problem”, he said that the government has a “clear duty” to strengthen the family and called for marriage to be “put back into its rightful place”.
He added that cohabiting parents were four times more likely to split up than those who were married.
The Telegraph also reports that Lord Freud has previous said, while speaking in the House of Lords, that the government should try to reverse the “major structural changes” in society that have led couples away from marriage and towards cohabitation.
He mentioned a study by the Relationships Foundation that put the total bill for family breakdown at £46 billion, when you factor in spending on health, education and the criminal justice system.
Several reports say that children of separated parents are more likely to fail at school, get involved in crime, suffer mental health problems and have difficulty finding work.
Lord Freud is the great grandson of renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud, whose theory of psychoanalysis is regarded as being a major contributing factor to the ‘sexual revolution’ of the mid 20th Century.