Coalition Has Failed to Back Marriage, Says IDS Think Tank

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Byline: Daniel Martin Whitehall Correspondent

THE think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith has dealt a stinging rebuke to the Government's efforts to tackle family breakdown and strengthen marriage.

The Centre for Social Justice said ministers are not delivering on their promises because of a Coalition 'tug-of-war' between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

Its annual report card on the Government's progress in dealing with the drivers of social breakdown highlights a string of policy failures and omissions in its approach to families.

It cites the lack of progress being made in introducing transferable tax allowances and eliminating the 'couple penalty' in the welfare system.

The CSJ also castigates the Government for its policies towards charities, in particular its decision to impose a cap on tax relief for charitable giving.

Ministers get four out of ten for their measures to reverse family breakdown but score even worse - two out of ten - for their approach to the voluntary and community sector.

In a foreward, the think tank's managing director Christian Guy said: 'There has been commendable political progress in areas such as addiction treatment strategy, education reforms and radical welfare reform.

'Yet there is much left for the Coalition to do if it is to leave a social legacy in 2015.

'The Government's focus on supporting families and charities remains inadequate.

'A political tug-of-war has once again stifled attempts to tackle the family breakdown that is devastating the poorest parts of our society.

'And the Government must rethink its dangerous plan to cap tax on charitable donations.

'It is wrong to brand philanthropists as tax dodgers, as the mishandled arguments of ministers have done recently.

'It is a proposal which makes less sense as time passes and it should be dropped with haste.'

The CSJ report said ministers had so far failed to implement promises to boost marriage.

'As leader of the opposition, David Cameron was firm in his resolve to bolster marriage and he is closely associated with the flagship policy of a transferable tax allowance,' it said. …