The emotional costs of family breakdown are immense.
But the financial costs of family breakdown, are, in their own way, no less shocking.
The estimated cost is £51 billion.
The biggest contributor (about 45%) to this figure is the support that the state provides to lone parent families by way of tax credits, housing benefits and lone parent benefits.
Second comes the cost of care of children and adults. It is estimated that ’98 per cent of the cost of looking after children in care, two thirds of the cost of social services for looking after children at home, and 5-10 per cent of the cost of care services for the elderly, [may be attributed] to family breakdown.’
The third largest contributor is health (including mental health) services. Family breakdown is associated with increased levels of ill-health, risky behaviour, and domestic violence.
Fourth comes crime. When families break down, loving guidance and parental discipline are harder to maintain. Some 70% of young offenders come from broken homes.
To the above four areas we may add factors such as teacher time spent with unruly pupils, free school meals, and loss of productivity from employees who are unable to fully focus on their work.
To put the figure of £51 billion in context, this is more than half what we spend on education, and considerably more than is spent on defence.
But think about it:
‘Defence has a £37 bn annual budget, a policy, a minister with a seat in cabinet, an army of civil servants, and an actual army, navy and air force at its disposal.’
Where is this country’s policy for dealing with, and reducing, family breakdown?
Based on this article by the Marriage Foundation.