By John Bingham, Telegraph
Welfare minister Lord Freud says Government has ‘clear duty’ to strengthen family and insists true impact of relationship breakdown goes 'far deeper' than benefits bill
The true cost of divorce and family breakdown in Britain goes “far higher” and “far deeper” than the multi-billion pound benefits bill, a welfare minister has warned.
Lord Freud said that the current £9 billion cost to the taxpayer of lone parent benefits amounts to just the tip of the iceberg when the full social cost of separation is taken into account.
He also called for marriage to be “put back into its rightful place” after a surge in the number of children being brought up by unmarried parents who he said were four times more likely to separate than those who tie the knot.
The Coalition should make “no apology” for saying that it has a “clear duty” to strengthen the family, he said.
The peer’s comments, in an article for The Telegraph, came as he acknowledged that family breakdown could be costing the country up to £46 billion a year.
Speaking in the Lords, he also said that the Government should actively attempt to reverse what he called a “major structural changes” in society away from marriage and towards cohabitation.
His remarks came in response to a question from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Peter Forster, about the cost to the welfare budget from family breakdown.