A new briefing from IPPR explores the central problems and anxieties affecting families across Britain today. The first of their ‘Condition of Britain’ papers.
They highlight five main areas of concern:
· Financial pressures caused by poor growth in real wages and price increases on essentials like energy, food, fares and childcare.
· Finding time for each other due to long working hours and poor family leave policies.
· Money and domestic responsibilities put pressure on relationships leading to higher rates of divorce and separation. Geographical mobility weakens family support mechanisms.
· Parents do a good job, but need support. Stress and poor mental health is on the increase.
· Certain markets intrude into family life skewing children’s priorities towards material goods and away from quality relationships.
The paper then sets out some lessons for policy and action.
· The importance of a decent income, not just benefits.
· Strong relationships matter and this means more than just a tax break for married couples.
· Parents need practical help, not isolation or blame.
· We need strong families who are able to stand up to market pressure.
This is a really useful contribution to the debate about the pressures and support families need.