CSJ: 50,000 families will have the rug “pulled from under them”

The Centre for Social Justice attack the Tories on family breakdown. Dominic Browne looks at their concerns and why you can't trust the Tories on the family.

Iain Duncan Smith

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ),  the think tank set up by Department of Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, have released a first year report card on the coalition government giving it positive marks on a range of issues but a massive fail on family breakdown.

The Daily Telegraph have focused on the CSJ’s disappointment that the coalition government has not supported marriage enough through the tax and benefit system, a position controversial on both left and right. However, the CSJ’s concerns over the potentially disastrous effects over how the household benefit cap is being introduced, chimes with  many left-wing fears:

The report, while agreeing with some form of cap, (pdf) states:

 “Our main contention is with current plans to introduce a full benefit cap on households in one fell swoop. Without the careful phasing in of such a cap – which is fair for taxpayers in principle – the CSJ is concerned it will bring hardship to as many as 50,000 large families who will have the rug pulled from under them overnight.

The impact of the average projected loss for such families of £93 a week could be highly damaging, and for families who are predicted to lose much more, it is likely to be devastating. Giving such families tailored transitional support through initiatives like the Work Programme will mitigate some of the damage, but the government should think again urgently about its implementation plans for the full benefit cap.”

Left Foot Forward have previously reported on the unfairness of the government’s housing benefit policy, and their child benefit cuts, both of which attack the protection the welfare state provides for family life.

The family, and the importance of its unit within a wider society, has been seen as a traditional Tory area of policy. However, as this report reminds us, the welfare state is one of the most effective and comprehensive guarantees and protections for family life. Left Foot Forward have previously released a report (pdf) detailing the policies that set the left apart from the right on the family, and why “the Tories cannot be trusted on the family”. 

Modern society may have changed the make-up and character of the family unit but with high house prices and greater family breakdown, if anything it has increased the need for state to nurture it.

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