Marriage is best, even when it isn’t…

It’s August. And in lieu of announcing anything new the Prime Minister has decided to return to his (and much of the media’s) favourite homily – other people’s families.

In a speech today the PM said that a ”family test” was being “formalised as part of the impact assessment for all domestic policies”, reminding us of previous announcements about government policies on shared parental leave, increasing health visitors and speeding up the adoption processes.

There wasn’t, however, a reference to how existing legislation, such as the spare room subsidy (aka the bedroom tax), would fare under this test.

Mr Cameron also committed to continuing to spend £7.5m a year on relationship counselling, call it a “fantastic investment” by creating £11.50 return for every £1 spent. Strange then to only spend 1% of the £700m a year cost of marriage tax breaks on counselling.

We heard again that marriage tax breaks were a “strong signal that we back marriage”. However they wouldn’t lead to ”people deciding to get married for a few extra pounds.”

But, perhaps not wanting to alienate all those voters who aren’t married, Cuddly Cameron slightly tempered his usual moralising saying: “And we certainly shouldn’t judge people who feel marriage isn’t for them”.

We also heard “let’s also be absolutely clear about the truly inspirational single parents” and “that there are some couples for whom splitting up is the right thing in the circumstances”.

And, as many of us have been vociferously pointing out the PM acknowledged: “there are also cases of domestic violence where what matters is making sure people are safe, rather than keeping a family together”.

Julianne Marriott of Don’t Judge My Family said: “The Government is telling us that their policies will have to pass a “family friendly” test while they plough on with plans to spend £700m a year on marriage tax breaks which will go to fewer than one in five families with children but spend just £7m a year on relationship counselling.”

Don’t Judge My Family has proposed 24 better ideas for spending £700m than on marriage tax breaks.