April 21, 2009

Families in Britain: the impact of changing family structures

By Natalie Evans, Sarah Jenkins and Isabella Pereira.

In Britain today, both the public and politicians agree that families matter. Four out of five people say that ‘my family are more important to me than my friends’, and families currently ride high on the policy agendas of both the Labour and the Conservative Parties. One thing that unites everyone in Britain is the need for parents to take more responsibility for their children: 64% of us strongly agree this matters.

Yet ‘the family’, both in public opinion and as a policy area, is a source of persistent contradictions and trade-offs. Privately, families must balance the competing interests of parents, children and other dependants within the household such as elderly relatives.

The traditional single male breadwinner family is declining and the growth of single-parent families and other new kinds of family present many new challenges for government policy  on welfare, work-life balance and in many other areas.

Families in Britain aims to be a starting point for a debate on policy, charting the changing nature of the family, and what that means for parents, children and our wider society.


Natalie Evans

Deputy Director, 2008-2011

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