Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Families Help Cut the Deficit

It's National Family Week in Britain next week, which is good timing because the new government has pledged to make Britain much more family-friendly.

The appropriately-named Relationships Foundation has calculated that family breakdown is costly not only in human but also in financial terms. The Foundation puts the financial cost of what it terms "family failure" at a staggering £41.7billion, or £1,340 per taxpayer per year.

Strengthening families, therefore, makes sense in terms of public finances, quite apart from its inherent merit.

The Foundation's breakdown of the cost of family failure last year is as follows:

  • Tax and Benefits (tax credits and lone parent benefits) - £12.38 bn
  • Housing and Council Tax Benefit - £4.27 bn
  • Health and Social Care - £13.68 bn
  • Civil and Criminal Justice - £8.03 bn
  • Education - £3.31 bn

Divorced men and women are also significantly more likely to suffer a range of health problems than married people. These include heart conditions, respiratory problems, injury and poisoning and mental health problems, all of which affect divorced people in greater measure than married.

By contrast, the Foundation has calculated that families provide social care and support worth £73 billion per year in the UK. Family businesses, meanwhile, produce a total turnover of £1 trillion, paying £73 billion each year in tax.

National Family Week are running over 5,000 events across the country aimed at helping families relax, enjoy themselves and build their relationships.

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