Help don’t judge, say Grandparents Plus

Grandparents Plus has responded to Don’t Judge My Family’s call for evidence to say that they believe “it is deeply unfair that many children living with wider family members because they can’t live with parents will lose out on the new tax break for married couples”.

Sarah Wellard from Grandparents Plus continued: “There are up to 300,000 children in the UK living with grandparents, older brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and other family members because they can’t live with their parents.  Most are with their kinship carer because of serious family problems like parental drug or alcohol misuse, death, serious illness or disability, domestic violence or imprisonment.  Many kinship carers struggle financially because no one plans to bring up someone else’s child, and they often have to give up work to settle children who are traumatised by what has happened in their family.  Some are pensioners trying to get by on a pension, others are older brothers and sisters who put their own lives on hold to look after their siblings.

“Around 40% of kinship carers are bringing up children alone – they may be widowed, divorced or they may be single and have never been married.  It is completely wrong that they should penalised because they are not married.

“Instead, we believe if the Government has money to spend on families this would be much better used to provide financial and practical support for kinship carers who have done the right thing and stepped in to bring up a vulnerable child and keep them out of care.  For example, it would cost £550 million to provide every kinship care family with an allowance of £2,750 a year to help with the extra costs of bringing up a child. Alternatively, the money could be spent on providing kinship carers with the equivalent of adoption leave so they don’t have to leave work when they give a child a permanent  home.”

Grandparents Plus were responding to a call for evidence by Don’t Judge My Family, the campaign against the marriage tax allowance.  They are calling for evidence from organisations and individuals to find alternative uses for the funds earmarked for a marriage tax allowance. How should the Government use £550m a year to support families, sustain relationships or give children the best start in life?