THE Prime Minister this week pledged to put families at the
heart of government policy, promising to carry out a "family test"
on every new policy his Government introduces.
From October, every new domestic policy "will be examined for
its impact on the family", Mr Cameron said. The Work and Pensions
Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, is to take on responsibility for all
After the announcement on Tuesday, Mr Cameron addressed the
Relationships Alliance Summit, in which he spoke of how "incredibly
lucky" he was to have his wife Samantha and four children. His
oldest son, Ivan, who was severely disabled, died five years ago,
He said: "It's family that brings up children, teaches values,
passes on knowledge, instils in us all the responsibility to be
good citizens, and to live in harmony with others. Long before you
go to the welfare state, it is family that is there to care for you
when . . . you fall on tough times."
He also praised the "truly inspirational single parents in our
country who do an amazing job bringing up their children"; and he
said he was committed to same-sex couples' being able to adopt.
He also promised that funding for relationship-support services
would stay at £7.5 million a year; and he announced an extension to
the troubled-families programme, so as to reach another 400,000
families. Children will also be protected from graphic content in
online music videos, with a scheme to pilot age-rating of
In his closing remarks after the Prime Minister's speech, the
chief executive of Marriage Care, Mark Molden, said: "Relationships
are the hidden assets behind a . . . cohesive society, and it's
time to unlock their potential."
Charities have welcomed Mr Cameron's commitment to families. The
chief executive of CARE, Nola Leach, said: "We are very much
encouraged to hear the Prime Minister acknowledge that tackling
family and relationship breakdown remains a priority for the
Government. CARE has long encouraged the Government to adopt
policies that support and encourage fruitful family life, and
today's comments from the Prime Minister are very welcome.
"Although we have been disappointed by some of this Government's
actions and policies, there have been a number of positive steps,
such as the Prime Minister's leadership in promoting improved
protection of children online."
The charity Barnardo's welcomed the Prime Minister's focus on
the impact of government domestic policies on families, and the
expansion of its troubled-families programme, but called for more
early intervention. In a statement, it said: "Barnardo's wants to
see a major shift in public policy towards early intervention.
Children in troubled families need much greater support, and they
need it far earlier. The scale of the need is enormous. With
500,000 troubled families, there are likely to be up to a million
children suffering problems at home."
Others wanted more detail about the proposed "family test".The
advice and rights manager at Child Poverty Action Group, Paul
Treloar, said: "We hope the proposed test does assess the impact of
policies on all family types."