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July 2, 2008 / C H Thompson

Social policy and the family

As was saw in the previous page, lone-parent families are particularly vulnerable to having a low family income. Therefore over recent years numerous government policies have been designed to help everyone live in a stable family. To this end, it’ll be useful if you watch the Jeremy Kyle clip below and decide which social policies you might introduce (in any) to solve any likely social problems.

To this end successive governments have sought to construct social policies which strengthened the traditional family by providing a range of social policies designed to support the family.

Traditionally Conservatives have supported the nuclear family while Labour has steered towards family diversity. However there’s been a distinct blurring of these boundaries with David Cameron’s Conservative party recognising family diversity while at the same time discussing the need for tax breaks for married couples. Then in 2013 the Conservative Party’s Autumn Statement offered tax breaks for married couples. 

New Right thinking is still in existence and continues to promote the nuclear family as the best form of family. On this basis every other family is stratified beneath the nuclear family and on this basis all their social policies are built on the nuclear family.

Therefore all taxes and welfare benefits would be designed to favour nuclear families. For example the income tax threshold (the threshold is the amount of money you could earn before a couple paid income tax) would be raised for married couples (this used to be in existence, known as the married couples’ allowance.

Another example for would be for working family tax credits, child benefit only to be paid to married couples. According to New Right thinking this would encourage more people to get married!

For the New Right, paying welfare benefits to diverse family forms has the effect of encouraging all types of other families to become acceptable. Cohabitation should be discouraged possibly through the taxation system or by restricting legal rights and privileges to cohabiting couples. Divorce should also be made more difficult through the legal system.

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