Most British people have overwhelmingly backed tax breaks for marriage.
The YouGov survey for the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) found that two thirds of people supported an extra tax allowance for married couples.
And in the wake of the summer riots, more than 80 per cent of those polled said they regarded family breakdown as a “serious” problem facing society. The survey coincides with the publication of a “manifesto for the family” by the CSJ, which has championed the argument that family breakdown is a key factor behind the “broken society” and that tangible support for marriage is vital to restoring stability to family life.
“This new polling shows that the public recognises that family breakdown needs to be addressed to reverse the damaging impact of the brokenness in our society,” Gavin Poole, CSJ executive director, said. “This is not about finger wagging or telling people how to live their lives, it is about encouraging strong and stable families through early intervention with the most vulnerable of them, improving support for relationships and removing the significant barriers to couple formation and marriage which stifle aspiration in the poorest areas.”
Mr. Poole said restoring a tax break for marriage would provide practical help to families. It would send “a signal that marriage is a stabilising factor in society and contributes to the welfare of adults and children alike,” he said, adding that “healthy families and stable childhoods should be the foundations on which we build a better Britain.”
The CSJ holds that family breakdown is often at the root of other pathways to poverty such as worklessness and benefit dependency, drug and alcohol addiction, and educational failure.
It points out that although aspirations to marry are high across the social classes, less affluent people are deterred from tying the knot by economic and cultural factors.
Researchers have found that marriage is becoming a state increasingly restricted to the middle and upper classes.
The YouGov survey also found that the public believes that family breakdown ranks only behind long-term unemployment and welfare dependency among the greatest social problems facing the country.
It is rated as more important than serious personal debt, schools failing children, alcoholism and binge drinking, and drug addiction.