Breakdown Britain

  Kate B 08:15 10 Jul 07
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I'm not sure I see that a £20-a-week tax break will do anything to fix broken families, nor do I think that being married is necessarily better than not being married but being in a good, solid partnership. So: good ideas, misguided or plain dumb?

  interzone55 08:41 10 Jul 07

Plain dumb I'm afraid.

What benefit is there to kids being brought up in a failing relationship rather than a happy loan parent.

My parents argued about everything, every day until I eventually moved out to get away from them, I was lucky in that it wasn't a violent relationship, but it wasn't a good atmosphere to live in.

The situation help me as I now do all I can to make sure my marriage doesn't break down the same way, but I can't see how a £20 bribe for Dave would help people like my mum & dad.

  Bingalau 08:51 10 Jul 07

Well I'm happily married and won't say "No" to an extra £20... Who would? But I know many happy unmarried couples too. So why differentiate?

  spikeychris 09:49 10 Jul 07

Morning all

I think the proposal from IDS means well but 20 quid a week isn’t going to keep and man and woman together if they are unhappy. To his credit he is trying to find a solution to massive social issues, how many times have you said or heard ‘I blame the parents’? I don’t think this proposal is aimed at middle class divorcées, its purpose is to try and keep people together that already have major problems with housing and jobs and drugs and booze and violence and drudgery. Watching the video and seeing the news reports are shocking, that estate in Scotland is a million miles from the rolling hills and rugged mountain image we might have of the place. Its hellish, it must be a nightmare raising kids on your own in such a place – I don’t think 20 pounds a week will prevent a couple splitting but anything that starts such a debate is alright by me.

  Kate B 11:03 10 Jul 07

I'm all for helping people, but I really dislike the narrow-minded view that marriage is somehow a cure-all. It's not, for the simple and oft-stated reason that marriages can be awful, miserable traps and that unmarried couples can be stable and happy. It's such a distraction from the real issues, and it fails to understand that society as a whole is pretty cool about unmarried couples - it's as if the people proposing this are locked in some misty-eyed view of the past - and it's a false view anyway.

  wee eddie 11:17 10 Jul 07

I don't think that we are really talking about religious marriage here, but a situation where a couple have made a formal 'legal' declaration that they are going to stay together to raise their children.

One of the problems of, both Taxes & Benefits, is that The State needs some form of Legal Definition before it can create the Legislation.

Maybe there should be some kind of non-Marriage Contract for two people to sign who intend to Co-habit and raise children.

  Guardianangel 11:24 10 Jul 07

I think it's well-intentioned but doesn't get to the root of family problems.

Selfishness is to blame in today's society where many people put themselves before anyone else, including their own offspring.

I witnessed a domestic scene recently outside our local school where a young mum with three young children was having a ding-dong battle of words with a man, I presumed to be their father, in front of the terrified children. The 'F' word was high on the agenda and he marched off giving the 'V' sign leaving her to pile them into a car.

They shouldn't have to witness such things. My parents argued but not in front of us.

What chance do those children have? It's not their fault and these parents should stop and think what they are creating for the future. It must be very hard being a lone parent and if your relationship is rocky for whatever reason, you should make damn sure you don't bring any other children into the world.

As it is, everyone else is having to foot the bill and there is a generation of children being emotionally, if not physically, scarred.

  Kate B 11:25 10 Jul 07

I think there's more to it, wee eddie: I think there's an implicit criticism of the non-married state as an example of how far we've come from some vaguely defined more "moral" past. I also don't see how any declaration, secular or religious, makes a difference to your intent or indeed to how your relationship pans out.

If people want to make a commitment, either with a religious or civil ceremony, I'm delighted for them and will be cheering them on. But that should be a completely personal decision for the couple concerned, not because there's some sense that it's somehow "better" in moral terms and therefore more deserving of tax breaks.

  wee eddie 11:35 10 Jul 07

I have not proved to be awful good at it. Never played away or anything like that, just too self centred or so I have been told.

However I was not really suggesting Ceremonies of any kind. I can well understand some folks aversion to them. More along the lines of the lease you sign on a Flat or a Mortgage. Not really very well thought through at the moment though.

  spuds 11:41 10 Jul 07

Basically it is a bit more political spin. The conservatives are not in power, so it ain't going to happen. And even if they were!!.

£20 may help a 'on the poverty line family', but it sure wouldn't make a vast difference to dear old middle England.

  interzone55 12:12 10 Jul 07

I have to say that one reason for the breakdown in relationships is the fairy tale view many people have of a marriage.

An awful lot of people get married purely because they want a "Wedding". They have a big day that costs tens of thousands of pounds, then they're saddled with a huge debt from the "big day", plus a mortgage, the relationship goes down hill from that point.

If all goes well the split happens before any children arrive.

Before I get flamed for these comments I've seen it happen a couple of times to friends, and once to a relative.

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