News

The Cost of Family Breakdown Index: £42 billion in 2011

06-Feb-2011


The Relationships Foundation has today published the results of its third annual ‘Cost of Family Breakdown’ Index.

 

The total cost of family breakdown to the UK was £41.74 billion in 2010-11. This is £1,364 for every taxpayer. The total cost has risen by £70million since last year.

 

The index looks at the cost of family breakdown to five key areas of public policy: Tax and Benefits, Housing, Health and Social Care, Civil & Criminal Justice and Education & Young People not in education, employment or training.

 

Relationships Foundation is calling for a long term strategy to reduce the cost of family breakdown. The Government’s long term strategy to reduce the debt targets about 10% of annual public spending. The cost of family breakdown soak up 5% of annual public spending.

 

Commenting, Michael Trend, Executive Director of the Foundation said:

 

“We have welcomed David Cameron's commitment to make us the most family friendly country in Europe, and we are eagerly awaiting the findings of the government's own review.”

 

“We should not be paying this amount in any fiscal climate – let alone the current one. Our index only sets out the financial cost – not the price paid in the broken hearts and broken dreams of parents and children alike.”

 

“The government has a long-term strategy to reduce the national debt. If it wants to bring stability and sustainability across almost all areas of spending, it needs a long term strategy to support the modern family.”

 

 

For further information, please contact Sam Barker, Head of Family Policy, on

07817  523 116, or s.barker@relationshipsfoundation.org

 

Notes to Editors 
 

·       A ink to the report can be found here:
 
http://www.relationshipsfoundation.org/Web/OnlineStore/Product.aspx?ID=132

 

·       The publication of the Cost of Family Breakdown Index coincides with Marriage Week UK. There will be a debate in the Lords on Thursday 10th February.

 

·       The Relationships Foundation, established in 1993, is a Cambridge-based independent think tank seeking a better connected society. It studies the effect that culture, business and government have on relationships. It proposes new ideas for strengthening social connections, campaigns on issues where relationships are being undermined, and trains and equips people to think relationally for themselves.

 

·       The Index has run since 2009. The full figures are:

 

Summary of the cost of family breakdown: 2009-20111
 

 

2009

2010

2011

 

£ billion

£ billion

£ billion

£ billion

£ billion

£ billion

Tax and Benefits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax credits

6.31

 

8.31

 

8.80

 

 

Lone parent benefits

4.34

 

4.07

 

3.79

 

 

 

 

10.65

 

12.38

 

12.59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing benefit and council tax benefit

3.68

 

4.16

 

4.41

 

 

Emergency housing following domestic violence

0.11

 

0.11

 

0.14

 

 

 

 

3.79

 

4.27

 

4.55

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Social Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Physical health

4.63

 

4.73

 

5.30

 

 

Mental health

1.16

 

1.54

 

1.56

 

 

Social services and care

4.58

 

4.91

 

3.79

 

 

Children in care

2.04

 

2.50

 

2.57

 

 

 

 

12.41

 

13.68

 

13.22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil and Criminal Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police

3.94

 

4.71

 

5.15

 

 

Prisons

1.18

 

1.18

 

1.24

 

 

Court and legal services2

0.50

 

0.55

 

0.63

 

 

Legal aid

0.92

 

0.98

 

0.85

 

 

Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission3

0.52

 

0.61

 

0.60

 

 

 

 

7.06

 

8.03

 

8.46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education and Young People NEET4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disciplinary and behavioural problems

 

 

 

 

1.12

 

 

Vandalism and criminal damage in schools

 

 

 

 

0.63

 

 

Free school meals

 

 

 

 

0.21

 

 

Education Maintenance Allowance

 

 

 

 

0.17

 

 

Tertiary education

 

 

 

 

0.15

 

 

Young people NEET

 

 

 

 

0.63

 

 

 

 

3.12

 

3.31

 

2.92

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total cost of family breakdown

 

37.03

 

41.67

 

41.74

 

 

1. The sum of items making up the sub-totals may differ slightly to the published sub-totals due to rounding up.
2.  Previous editions include only HM Courts Service. The 2011 edition includes a wider array of court and legal services related to family breakdown.
3.  Formerly known as Child Support Agency, now part of the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission.
4.  In light of the economic climate, the 2011 index has been updated to include cost relating to young people not in education, employment or training .
 

 

·       Assuming 30.6 million taxpayers, this is an average of £1,364 a head. Because of the nature and methodology of the index, some of the cost could be realisable as savings, others (primarily around education) represent opportunity cost.

 

·       The IFS green budget forecasts that the budget will be in surplus by 2014-15, and the debt to GDP ratio will begin to fall in the year before that. But our total debt will not return to pre-crisis levels until 2030.

 

·       With UK public spending around £700 billion, family breakdown represents 5% of that. The Coalition is seeking about a 10% cut overall.

 

·       During a speech to Barnados in June 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg revealed that David Cameron would be chairing a Childhood and Families Taskforce. This was due to report ‘around the end of 2010’
www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/jun/17/nick-clegg-family-task-force

 

·       The index has been designed and populated by Relationships Foundation’s senior researcher, David Wong, PhD student and supervisor at the Cambridge Judge Business School. In 2007, the Centre for Social Justice put the cost of family breakdown to the exchequer at ‘well over £20bn per annum’. Their 2006 report Fractured Families suggested that it is ‘impossible to quantify with any accuracy the cost of family breakdown to the Exchequer.’ Relationships Foundations Index is an iterative attempt to meet that challenge.

 

·       The Centre for Social Justice, in its report on family breakdown, found that:

 

o       The ongoing rise in family breakdown affecting young children has been driven by the dissolution of cohabiting partnerships. The majority of these are less stable than marriage (European data shows that by a child’s fifth birthday less than 1 in 12 (8%) married parents have split up compared to almost 1 in 2 (43%) cohabiting parents).

 

o       ‘The intergenerational transmission of family breakdown and its associated disadvantages is seen in the way children who have been neglected or un-nurtured are highly likely to go on to create dysfunctional families subject to further breakdown. Similarly there is an overrepresentation in teen pregnancy statistics of girls from fatherless and broken homes.

 

o       ‘Crime is strongly correlated with family breakdown - 70% of young offenders are from lone parent families and one third of prisoners were in local authority care (yet only 0.6% of the nation’s children are in care at any one time).

 

·       Polling for the Centre for Social Justice’s Breakdown Britain (2006) found that if you are not brought up in a two-parent family you are:

       - 75% more likely to fail at school
- 70% more likely to be a drug addict
- 50% more likely to have an alcohol problem
- 40% more likely to have serious debt problems
- 35% more likely to experience unemployment/welfare  dependency   


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