Historic attempt to put families at the heart of government policy

A Christian MP is leading an historic attempt to put families at the very heart of government polices across England.

Caroline Ansell MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon tabled the Assessment of Government Policies (Impact on Families) Bill and the legislation will receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons today.

This legislation would mean the Prime Minister’s family test which he announced in August 2014 would become a mandatory duty for all government departments and Ministers of the Crown.

The results of the impact assessment would then have to be published and if a policy idea fails the test and the department plans to still go ahead, a duty will be placed on them to explain reasons for continuing.

Leading Christian charity CARE said the attempt to put families back at the heart of government policies is urgently needed in light of the stark problem of family breakdown across the UK.

CARE CEO Nola Leach said:

“CARE has been privileged to help Caroline Ansell and support her as she brings this much needed and historic legislation to the House.

“While we commend the government for they have done to promote families, there is a huge amount that still needs doing and it is extremely unfortunate that the Prime Minister’s own family test has been largely ignored by government departments.

“Family breakdown is costing the Treasury £47billion each year and if any other problem was causing the Treasury to lose so much money, you can be sure everything would be done to guarantee government policy was not making the situation any worse.

“By backing this bill, the government would send a powerful signal to families across the UK that family life will be protected and safeguarded against policies that would otherwise undermine it.

“Families are the best safety net we have and are able to help children and other vulnerable adults in ways the State simply cannot.

“This is not about demonising single parents because they too need support but if you look at the bigger picture, God designed families for a reason because they represent the very best design for strong societies.”

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact James Mildred on 0207 227 4731 / 07581153693 or email: james.mildred@care.org.uk

Read the Bill here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0026/15026.pdf

David Cameron MP announced his family test in August 2014 saying: “I want every government department to be held to account for the impact of their policies on the family. The reality is in the past the family just hasn’t been central to the way government thinks. So you get a whole load of policy decisions which take no account of the family and sometimes make these things worse… I said previously that I wanted to introduce a family test into government. Now that test is being formalised as part of the impact assessment for all domestic policies. Put simply, that means every single domestic policy that government comes up with will be examined for its impact on the family.”

In October 2014 the Department for Work and Pensions published guidance specifically designed to help departments apply the test.

In Written answers to Parliamentary Questions it has become clear that since October 2014 the Family Test has largely been ignored.

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