To coincide with the 2012 party conferences we publish the UK version of our Family Pressure Gauge, showing how the pressures on families varies across UK regions. Drawing on data from the Understanding Society panel survey, it replicates the same elements as our 2012 European index – financial, work, care and living environment pressures – choosing the best proxy variables from the survey data.
London is the most pressured region in the United Kingdom for family life by a considerable distance. The capital is followed by the West Midlands, the North East, the East Midlands, Wales and the North West as regions where families experience moderately high or high pressures. Northern Irish families are the least pressured in the United Kingdom.
Relationships Foundation Pressure Gauge (2011)
The Relationships Foundation’s Family Pressure Gauge was developed to measure progress towards the goal of making Britain the ‘most family friendly country in Europe’ – the stated intent of the coalition government. It will be updated from time to time, provide the framework for press and policy comment as we hold government to account and will promote greater awareness of ways in which families are undermined, and may be supported.
The Relationships Foundation has been making the case for a clear over-arching family policy for a number of years. We begin our days in families, and they care for us in old age. Our families touch every aspect of our development as human beings, and of our lives at work, at home, and in society: as such they offer the greatest potential for social change, for wealth, and wellbeing. Sideline family policy and you court systemic failure.
Our index, built entirely on official data from Eurostat, Eurofound, and the OECD, shows that the UK is almost the least family friendly country in Europe. Families in the UK are the third most pressured of 27 European countries. Only families in Bulgaria and Romania have a worse time of it. Financial and work pressures, combine with poor maternity and paternity provision, and poor living environments put our families among the most pressured in Europe.
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