Recently a hugely significant piece of legislation was published. The Assessment of Government Policies (Impact on Families) Bill would make it mandatory for government ministers to assess every policy initiative in terms of its impact on family life. It has been brought forward by Caroline Ansell MP.
Back in August 2014, the Prime Minister acknowledged in the past families hadn’t been at the centre of government thinking. So he introduced his test saying: “Put simply that means every single domestic policy that government comes up with will be examined for its impact on the family.”
However, since then recent investigations have revealed how little the Prime Minister’s family test is actually being used. The Sunday trading proposals, thankfully now put on hold, are a prime example. It was discovered after the Chancellor announced his ambition to devolve power to allow local councils to permit large stores to open longer on a Sunday that these proposals failed the Prime Minister’s own family test. Without the mandatory requirement to assess policies by it, it is clear many government departments are not sufficiently motivated by themselves to rigorously apply the test.
CARE whole heartedly welcomes this historic bill. A strong healthy environment is something we all want. Crucial to achieving this is the centrality of families. Policies designed by the government should uphold family life. The Prime Minister has acknowledged this was not always the case under previous governments. Caroline Ansell’s bill is a step in the right direction.
At the moment, the Prime Minister’s test is really just theoretically a good test that is not being properly used. If the government backs this bill, it will become a welcome reality. CARE would therefore urge the government to get behind this legislation.