Rich people get married and stay together while poor people do not, a Tory MP has claimed.
Michael Tomlinson said “where there is poverty, family breakdown is often not far behind” and called for the Government to spend more money on keeping couples together.
Speaking during a debate on the Budget in the House of Commons, the MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole also warned marriage appears to be disappearing in Government policy-making “just as much as it’s disappearing in our poorest communities”.
Tomlinson insisted more money should be spent on preventing family breakdown, which in turn would mean lower amounts are spent on dealing with the consequences.
He said: “I’m very grateful to the work of the Centre for Social Justice and the work they do in this area because it’s from the CSJ that I learnt that despite the increased poverty risks, it’s estimated that the Treasury spends about £1 in preventative spending for every £6,000 responding to the consequences of family breakdown.
“Further, it’d appear that marriage is disappearing in policy-making – just as much as it’s disappearing in our poorest communities.
“Because 87% of high-earners marry, 24% of low-earners marry – the rich get married and stay together, the poor don’t.
“Why does this matter? Because where there is poverty, family breakdown is often not far behind – and while poverty is often a driver of family breakdown, crucially so too is family breakdown a driver of poverty.
Marriage and the family should not be disappearing from Government policy-making.
Tory MP Michael Tomlinson
“According to the Department for Work and Pensions, children who experience family breakdown are twice as likely to fall into poverty.
“And despite the chuntering from the benches opposite, the public really do get this – recent CSJ polling confirmed that young people aged 14 to 17 aspire to a lasting a relationship, just as much and they find that just as important as they aspire to a long-term career.
“It’s clear support to the family is important for social mobility and it’s also important for alleviating poverty.
“Marriage and the family should not be disappearing from Government policy-making.
“When it comes to the Budget and our public services, it seems to me that more can be spent on prevention and this would mean less is spent on the consequences of family breakdown.”
It comes after former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, whose think tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) is calling for Theresa May to back pro-marriage policies, said unmarried men were “a problem” for society.
Fellow senior Tory Lord Farmer also used a CSJ fringe meeting on marriage at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month, chaired by influential backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, to say no-fault divorces are “lacking in morality” and could “destroy the institution of marriage”.
Archaic laws demand proof that a marriage has broken down due to a partner’s adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion – but Justice Secretary David Gauke has said this approach will be scrapped.