Families and children

The Government believes that strong and stable families of all kinds are the bedrock of a strong and stable society. That is why we need to make our society more family friendly, and to take action to protect children from excessive commercialisation and premature sexualisation.

  • We will maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.
  • We will reform the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and overpayments.
  • We will bring forward plans to reduce the couple penalty in the tax credit system as we make savings from our welfare reform plans.
  • We support the provision of free nursery care for pre-school children, and we want that support to be provided by a diverse range of providers, with a greater gender balance in the early years workforce.
  • We will take Sure Start back to its original purpose of early intervention, increase its focus on the neediest families, and better involve organisations with a track record of supporting families. We will investigate ways of ensuring that providers are paid in part by the results they achieve.
  • We will refocus funding from Sure Start peripatetic outreach services, and from the Department of Health budget, to pay for 4,200 extra Sure Start health visitors.
  • We will investigate a new approach to helping families with multiple problems.
  • We will publish serious case reviews, with identifying details removed.
  • We will review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime and scale it back to common sense levels.
  • We will crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing, especially to children. We will also take steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
  • We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.
  • We will put funding for relationship support on a stable, long-term footing, and make sure that couples are given greater encouragement to use existing relationship support.
  • We will conduct a comprehensive review of family law in order to increase the use of mediation when couples do break up, and to look at how best to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.

Your comments (437)

  1. June Cash says:

    What steps will be taken to encourage mothers who want to stay at home to care for pre-school (and older) children? Both our daughters are staying at home to care for their babies/toddlers, but it’s exceptionally tough on one low income, especially if you want to get on the housing ladder to escape the tyranny of the rental market.
    Could we get back to one day in the week when everyone has a day off? This would ensure families get quality time together, and also time for the wider family – grandparents etc.
    Statistics show overwhelmingly that Marriagebetween one man and one woman is by far the best environment for children. Can we therefore stop pretending that other permutations and definitions of “family” are great, and promoting such? How can couples be encouraged to marry (rather than co-habit) and fathers take more responsible attitudes towards their children? Responsible motherhood and fatherhood need to be much better promoted and taught in the nation, for families are the building block of a stable society – there’s been far too much family chaos over the past decade or so.

  2. eileen wojciechowska says:

    Any efforts to promote family life, and the importance of stable family life, will be welcomed.
    Parental rights have been eroded since the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy 2000, as we have been completely undermined by the State instigating legislation whereby children – and I mean children from 10 upwards (see Bodyzone, Oxfordshire) being allowed contraceptives and abortions without parents knowledge or consent.

    The failure of this strategy is evident as it did not decrease teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases have gone through the roof. Sex education material in schools is graphic and is without any moral code. Most details how to have sex but avoid the consequences. And yet, the sex education lobby cries for more and more of the same, and the recent proposal by Ed Balls in the previous Government, called for sex education to be compulsory from the age of 5 years of age.

    This can only lead to more sexualisation of our young and more damage to society as a whole.

    Marriage between a man and a woman is a true marriage. Sex between one man and one woman creates babies. To be seen as ‘equal and trendy and inclusive’ has diluted the uniquness and stableness to society of marriage by placing it on equal status with civil partnerships, which is totally different.

    Marriage between men and women is the bedrock of society, as we hear. So please do all you can to keep that status. and please do all you can to allow material promoting and aspiring to marriage between men and women, in our schools, without the fear of being told this is being homophobic.

    Children are our future and should be protected. Parents, in law, are responsible for their children until the age of 16, please give us back our right to be able to do so.

    Going back to sex education, can you please, as a matter of urgency, co-ordinate a review on the kinds of materials our children are shown in schools/from programmes/leaflets etc. as most is highly inappropriate. In fact if an adult had some of that material in their homes, they would be arrested for peodophilia.

  3. Chris Wagstaff says:

    The government’s support for marriage is to be welcomed although I would like the traditional definition of marriage needs to be defended. Will they make more money available for marriage preparation and counselling?

    How will the government ensure that parents have adequate time with their children, especially given the growing presumption that both parents will work even when children are young? Will the government make Sunday a special day again, so that families can be together? Will the government repeal the 24-hour drinking laws and regulate gambling more stringently?

  4. Vicky says:

    Support social workers explicitly and fund the College of Social Work.

  5. Chloe coster says:

    The government’s support for marriage is to be welcomed (although the biblical and traditional definition of marriage needs to be defended and subtle attempts at redefinition resisted) – THIS CAN BE ENORMOUSLY AIDED BY REVIEWING THE WELFARE STATE AND THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS AND HOUSING BENEFIT FOR THOSE LEAVING THE MARITAL HOME
    Will you make more money available for marriage preparation and counselling?

  6. E Batstone says:

    I would like to know what the government plans to do about enforcing the actual law concerning abortions. There are about 190,000 — many of which do not seem to meet the original criteria or original intention of the law. Disabled children can be aborted up to birth. In an age where we know that the unborn’s heart starts beating at 6 weeks and that they are fully formed at 12 weeks, is there any justification to the continued practice which in effect has made abortion on demand?

  7. The Salvation Army welcomes the Government commitment to maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020. We also welcome a continued commitment to Sure Start and a promise to help families with complex needs.
    The Salvation Army welcome the commitment to clamp down on irresponsible advertising and marketing to children. We welcome steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
    We support polices aimed at supporting and strengthening relationships and families.

  8. John says:

    On Man, One Wife, children = a family, not one man, one toaster and a horse

  9. Richard Miller says:

    I went to state schools and the happiest, most productive children there came from homes where there were both parents there and the were both marred, (although I did not). So I would like to see a return to real state support for married couples starting with man and wife. I would also like to see real support for pregnant women of all ages and in all situations married or not to help them have their babies. Many of us who voted Conservative did so after David Cameron months before the election campaign started said he would re-open the debate on abortion and life issues. I hope and ask the debate on abortion and life issues will start under this Government.

  10. Susan Miller says:

    I home educate our daughter who will soon be six and our son who will soon be four because I want fundamentalist, Bible based education. I use A.C.E which has been recognised by Naric. I wish that my sacred right as parent is not undervalued and that home-ducators are not stigmatised but permitted to exercise their human right to hold the opinion that their children should be educate at home. I belong to a secular home-ed group on the I W and see the benefits of home ed generally. I wish life issues to be given centre stage as it is sad that pro aborton advert can take place but no forum for pro life adverts.

  11. Francis Phillips says:

    Help to make it financially possible for mothers to stay at home with their pre-school children if that is what they want to do. Research has shown that putting tiny babies into nurseries all day is not psychologically healthy. They need to learn to bond with a loving parent – ideally the mother – in order to have healthy relationships with others at a later stage.

  12. Daniel Kinning says:

    Will the government protect the freedom of existing christian schools to maintain their christian character even if they convert into academies by being allowed to set their own selection criteria for children and teachers?

    For teachers and parents who want to set-up new schools, what measures will the government take to ensure that these groups can establish schools according to christian belief and behaviour?

    What will the government do to ensure that schools who do not believe that certain types of relationship such as gay relationships can be exempted from teaching about such relationships? In addition, for those schools who do promote such relationships I urge the government to maintain a parents right to remove their child from being taught about such relationships.

    Will the government ensure that sex and relationship education is not taught to children under 10 years of age?

    Government plans to strengthen the powers of teachers and headteachers to discipline pupils and promote good behaviour are welcomed – how will the government ensure that this happens?

  13. Robert Chalmers says:

    Restrict child benefit to the first two children – savings to help with the ‘deficit’ reduction

  14. Mr Brian Murray says:

    Parents are the first educators of children and as such sex education should be carried out by them. I have seen a policy of sex education developed in school which has no real roots and must be difficult for children to grasp. More state sex education; contraceptive availability and abortion availability have led to higher rates of pergnancy among young people together with increased abortions and STDs in that group, this is an unarguable fact, it may have also led to an increase in other social problems too. There has to be more freedom given to parents to allow them to educate their chidlren at their own pace and understanding. Please resist any pressure to revive the previous government’s plan to force state-funded schools to provide sex and relationships education. Brian Murray, Edinburgh, Scotland.

  15. ray says:

    The goverment need to stop encouraging young teenages to get pregnat by withdrawing the bias in social housing schemes that puts pregnat teenagers to the top of the lists.

    Decades of increasing sex education and benifits have done nothing to solve the problem.

    It’s about time some of the benifits and rewards that people get for getting pregnant are removed. There are far to many teenagers I know of who have got pregnant because they want their own house, subsidised by my taxes.

  16. Mrs K Hudson says:

    I believe that people claiming jobseekers and are able to work should be made to do voluntary work, helping the elderly and disabled for instance, doing gardening and such like for those who are not able to do it themselves, therefore reducing the cost to the local authorities.

    Claiming benefits is too easy, all they have to do is show that they have been looking for work to be able to claim their “dole” money, (ie. write down a few web sites, shops they have looked in etc, when they really haven’t bothered, i know this to be true as my own teenage son did it), there are many people who would rather sit around doing nothing of any use and are able to
    work, so, make them work for their benefits and reduce the cost to local councils.

  17. bev says:

    you cleverly have not said what your plans are for working and childrens tax credits. you are goiong to drive people into pverty with actions for workers under 30,000 joint income. you keep putting what you are going to do but not what you are going to cut!

  18. Janet Rees says:

    Abolish the Education Maintenance Allowance. I work in a Sixth Form where many students from split families get EMA and come to school in brand new cars with personalised number plates. I am fed up of my taxes paying for people who cannot keep their relationships together (or choose to split up to cheat the system). Many of these kids are still supported by the fathers(cash in hand), but as the mothers earnings only are taken into account they get up to £30 a week each. That is as much as telling me I could afford to give my children £30 a week (I couldn’t they had to get part time jobs). When will people be made to pay for their own children? All students should be given a free bus or train pass for further education, regardless of income, and if they choose not to use it that’s up to them. Its time couples who stay married and bring up their children with no help from the state were given credit for it.

  19. mike says:

    Scrap Child Benefit. We are overpopulated already. If you can’t afford them, don’t have them…..Parents are responsible for their children, not the taxpayer.

  20. Helen says:

    Please stop penalising single childless people. I am tired of paying for everybody elses choices.

    People who are married already have much lower costs than single people. Why should they get extra benefits just because they’re lucky enough to have found a partner?

    Financial incentives will do absolutely nothing to increase successful marriages. If you get married for a tax-break then the relationshop is doomed to fail. On second thoughts, maybe I should find an unemployed person for a fake marriage just so I can use their tax allowance?

    If we really want to stop marriages breaking down, we need to invest in relationship counselling. It needs to start at school and be integrated with sex education. There is a generation of narcissists growing up who are just too self-centred and lacking in self-awareness that they cannot put the work needed into a relationship. Mediation and support are exactly what we need.

    People choose to have children. If you can’t afford a child you shouldn’t have one. Parents already get massive financial subsidy in the form of schools and healthcare. Sex education in schools ought to include lessons about the costs of children.

    Shared paternity/maternity leave would be better for everyone.

  21. Steve Parkinson says:

    The tax system penalises families where one parent stays home to look after the children. A couple who both work and earn £30,000 between them get two tax allowances AND get state funding towards childcare. Where one parent earns £30,000 and the other looks after the children, they only get one tax allowance, despite saving the state the cost of childcare.

    In places such as Jersey, a couple get twice the tax allowance of a single person, regardless of who is earning the money, a much fairer basis for taxing a family. This may not be affordable in the current climate, but we could make some progress towards it.

    The current system is ridiculous – the Government pays one group of people to collect our tax and others to pay it back as child benefit, family credit etc. Stop paying people to give handouts and you can afford to give families a better tax break, with simpler administration.

  22. Matthew Parker says:

    Please can we have a re-think of sex education? The evidence is that the approach that has been adopted is not working and it is functional families/parenting and traditional family values which need strong support. The focus of sex education should move away from teaching about using condoms and the availability of confidential advice. Also, sex education from early primary school ages has no obvious benefit and seems to be at odds with a desire to avoid early sexualisation of children. Please let our children be children and reverse the trend of more and early sex education.

    Parents need to be encouraged and supported in parenting. This is particularly the case in sex education where the state taking responsibility (especially if this is based on the assumption that children will engage in sexual activity before the legal age of 16) just does not work.

  23. Mike A says:

    Government should back out of family lives, stop funding excess and let people take responsibility for their actions.

    Give everyone a decent tax free allowance, set above a 37h working week on the minimum wage, and let us chose how we want to live.

    If I chose to not have a family and blow all my money on gadgets for myself, thats fine

    If I chose to have a family then I accept that I will have less money to spend on the above gadgets, but I gain so much more from having my family.

    It is my choice, let me take the responsibiltiy for my actions so stop the Tax Credits!

  24. Nicholas Johnson says:

    Healthy Families underpin society. I normally vote for my excellent Liberal Democrat MP. However before the election I indicated to the Conservative party that I would vote for them IF they seriously developed their initial proposals to increase the cost benefits of marriage.

    Though the proposed coalition programme commendably supports families in many ways I am disappointed that, apparently under Lib Dem influence, some of the key earlier Conservative proposals to improve the tax benefits of married couples have been dropped. Other contributors have provided evidence of the marked benefits of stable, committed marriage relationships along traditional, Christian principles. It seems amazing to me that tax policies have sleepwalked into a situation where partners find it cheaper to bring up children outside of that stable, legal marriage contract and even to claim that they are single. What message does that topsy-turvey situation give to young men who might under a more sensible tax regime discover the benefits of marriage commitment, emotionally for themselves as well as for their children and partners and not just for financial reasons.

  25. Whilst I understand the families concerns regarding ContactPoint; as a social worker the biggest barrier to assessing children and their families is having simple facts like contact details; knowing who is already working with the family.

    ContactPoint MUST NOT be scrapped; it’s already up and running so the costs have been incurred; the benefits are significant to frontline child protection social workers. In the post Baby P era our professional needs all the tools to help protection the vulnerable children. Do not scrap ContactPoint; wait for Professor Muno’s review of Child Protection to be completed.

  26. Kerry Pugh says:

    If it was doable…

    Have all females on compulsory contraception from, say 12, (I’m sorry, but they are starting younger and younger) and have anyone who wishes to have children go before a board and provide evidence that they can financially and emotionally support a child through life before they are allowed to conceive… OK, may that’s a bot OTT…

    You need to realise that having a baby to modern teenagers is like a career choice – leave school go to college, get an education??? find a job, get out there earning your way through life??? Or have a baby – get a wage every week, get a house given to you with little to no rent and keep popping them out to top up the ‘wages’??? I can assure you this is the angle a lot of your teenage mothers are coming from.

    I like the idea of scaring the kids about sex, so it’s just a duty they have to perform on their wedding night… that would slow the population increase… and let’s be fair, population will soon be becoming a problem!!

  27. julie Corbett says:

    stop CAF and all the every child matters children’s plans it is an industry. bring back schools for moderate learning disability if parents ask. re-balance the child/adult influence in services do not have children deciding (well they don’t they are manipulated) funding schemes.

    proper school nurses and baby clinics in church halls and community centres so parents get a chance to talk to each other.

  28. The government should legalise private adoption.

    All those who want to see abortion made rare (at the very least) should support mothers who wish to carry their babies to term but are unable to look after them. They are much more likely to do this if they are able to hand over their child to someone they have met, know and trust, rather than to a government agency who could place them with anyone – people they don’t know and have no relationship with.

    The government does not need to be a forced intermediary in the adoption process.


  29. Colin says:

    We must keep SureStart from all, all parents and children can benefit from the fantastic support on offer, just because people are middle class does not mean they don’t need friends, advice and support. This is essential!

  30. Colin says:

    If you are going to introduce a marriage tax break, shouldn’t it be for all modern married couples, not just one where one partner chooses not to work?

  31. R says:

    Please please keep SureStart for all, we all (across all incomes) benefit so much from all the schemes. We are all in the same boat, facing the same issues with young children! My daughter has come on so much and I have personally made a new social network.

  32. Clo says:

    At present, childcare vouchers are only available through employers. This leads to hard working parents not being able to benefit from the vouchers when employers prefer not to support the scheme (for example, for those is temporary / contract employment). It is also a way for some employers to deter parents (women in particular) to apply to some jobs. Surely, this is nothing but a discriminating set up and goes against a fairness principle, doesn’t it?

  33. RG says:

    We need to keep free nursery places, these are essential for children and working families to survive. We also really benefit from Sure Start so these must be kept for all, not just the lower income families (who frequently do not bother with it!) I don’t agree with ‘keep Sunday special’ as I am not a Christian and welcome the choice of a wide range of family activities for us to enjoy.

  34. It would be foolish to cut back on state support for pre-school funding for three year olds despite the need for cuts. Free childcare allows parents to engage in the workplace, which is what this country needs. If anything it would be better to EXPAND free childcare options. Maybe a state-led drop-in system in local communities could be encouraged which harnessed volunteers and parents to keep costs down, whilst working of course with some qualified professionals. The NZ Plunket network is an interesting example of community-based childcare.

  35. Walter Morauf says:

    Lenin and Trotzky showed in the early 1920ies, that even a worldview, which is bent on getting rid of the family, has no other option than to keep it.

    The requirement to notify the state of partnership/marriage was lifted in 1921 and by the end of 1922 it had been re-instated, as the government could already notice, that anarchic behavior increased to an dangerous level, where “party-rule” would be nearly impossible.
    I hope the government will be able to strengthen the position of the cornerstone of any society “the FAMILY.”

  36. Liz says:

    I agree with:
    -We will review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime and scale it back to common sense levels.
    -We will crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing, especially to children. We will also take steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
    -We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.

    I am, however worried that marriage will be put before a stable home environment for a child. The most recent 20-year study conducted shows that children thrive in a loving, stable home – regardless of the gender of the parents. Also, many couples are wonderful parents, but choose not to marry – why should they be penalised?

    Whilst I agree that having children should not be a ways of benefiting financially, it should also not be a burden on hard-working families. Remember, the children of today will contribute to the society of tomorrow.

  37. Emma M says:

    I would just like to say That i have been in my relashionship for 11 years. I am now 35 years old. We have a 6 year old daughter and another on the way. We have a morgage on a 2 bed house, which we have lived in for 10 years. We found at the time it was easier for us to get a house than to pay for a wedding. We still can not get married even though we have been engaged for the past 5 years. We just do not have the money to pay for a wedding. If we had some finacial help in getting married, that is not going to be a loan ( i hate those things) then we will get married. We just can not afford to. My partner, He works full time and i work part time arround my daughters school hours. Everything that is coming in to the house goes straight away towards the bills. Us non married couples, this is just me, would like finacial help to get married. please do not penalise us. We have been together longer than my parents did, when they got divorced i was 8 years old and my sister was 5 yeras old, they were married for 9 years.
    Please realise the many non married couple have been together a long time. support us in some way as well.