Counting the Cost of Family Failure: 2012 Update

Counting the Cost of Family Failure 2012:£44 bn

The total cost of family breakdown to the UK was £44 billion (£43.94 billion), up from £42 bilion last year. The annual cost per taxpayer is now £1,470.


The index looks at the cost of family breakdown in 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.

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

“In the past we have welcomed David Cameron’s commitment to make us the ‘most family friendly country in Europe’, but we deplore the way the costs of family failure continue to increase.

“Following the publication of our recent Family Pressure Gauge, which showed families in the UK being among the most pressured in Europe, the publication today of our fourth annual Cost Of Family Breakdown index shows yet another steep rise. Not only a steep rise in costs that the government can ill afford to meet even in good times, and especially not at the moment. But also a steep rise in the price paid in the broken hearts and broken dreams of parents and children alike.

“We deplore that supporting stable family life and strengthening marriage have become collateral damage in the tank manoeuvres of liberalism and conservatism within the coalition government. It is time for the Prime Minister formally to place family policy at the heart of his government, by locating responsibility for it directly where he can keep a close eye on it – at Number 10, where, evidence suggests, what small importance it once had in policy terms has recently been downgraded.

“Our view is that of you sideline family policy you court systemic failure: this was surely one of the lessons of last summer’s rioting. It is high time the coalition got its act together on family policy. If we want to see real progress in improving wellbeing, increasing children’s life chances, higher educational attainment, less crime and reduced welfare dependency we cannot afford another year of such limited action.

“The government needs a long term strategy to support the modern family. It will soon be simply incredible for any member of the government to make any coherent claims to be seen as family friendly.”

For further information, please contact John Ashcroft, Research Director, on 0795 235 7421, or

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