A million children grow up without fathers, report warns

 

More than a million children are growing up in the UK without a father, a report on family breakdown has found.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) says that the number of lone-parent families is increasing by 20,000 a year and will reach more than two million by the time of the next general election in 2015.

The CSJ warned of a "tsunami" of family breakdown and accused the Government of a "feeble" response to the problem and of turning a blind eye to its commitment to promote family stability.

Some of the poorest parts of the country are becoming "men deserts", the report found, because there are so few visible male role models for children.

One of the problems is the dearth of male teachers in primary schools.

In England and Wales one in four primary schools has no male teacher, and 80% have fewer than three.

The absence of fathers is also linked to higher rates of teenage crime, pregnancy and disadvantage, according to the report.

Christian Guy, director of the CSJ, said the human, social and financial costs are "devastating" for children and adults alike, yet the response from politicians of all colours has been "feeble".

"For children growing up in some of the poorest parts of the country, men are rarely encountered in the home or in the classroom.

"This is an ignored form of deprivation that can have profoundly damaging consequences on social and mental development.

"There are 'men deserts' in many parts of our towns and cities and we urgently need to wake up to what is going wrong."

Liverpool has one of the highest densities of fatherless households in the country, with eight of the top 20 areas within its boundaries, the report found. In the ward of Riverside there is no father in 65% of households with dependent children.

In the Manor Castle ward of Sheffield 75% of households are headed by a lone parent, most commonly a woman. Riverside in Liverpool was second with 71%.

The report also highlights the cost of family breakdown - an estimated £46 billion a year, or £1,541 for every taxpayer in the country.

This has risen by almost a quarter in the last four years, and is projected to reach £49 billion by the end of this parliament, the CSJ said.

The think-tank claimed that for every £6,000 spent on dealing with the fallout from family breakdown, just £1 is spent on helping to keep families together.

The report suggested that the instability of cohabiting couples, rather than a surge in divorce rates, was fuelling the disintegration of families in the UK.

Since 1996, the number of people cohabiting has doubled to nearly six million, but cohabiting parents are three times more likely to separate by the time a child is five than married couples.

The CSJ condemned the Government's lack of action in failing to stem what it called an "epidemic" of family breakdown.

Mr Guy said: "There are many misguided reasons for such political paralysis. Some argue that it is no business of politicians to meddle in the personal family choices people make.

"Others suggest that rising family breakdown is just a modern process, an inevitable trait of human advancement. Others say family instability doesn't matter...

"This has to change. Our political discourse about family policy must mature. Family breakdown is an urgent public health issue. Backing commitment and setting a goal of reducing instability does not equate to criticising or stigmatising lone parents or those involved.

"Within this need for new maturity, we should also agree that marriage is not a right wing obsession but a social justice issue: people throughout society want to marry but the cultural and financial barriers faced by those in the poorest communities thwart their aspirations."

The report, Fractured Families: why stability matters, is published this week.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month