Cameron backs Obama over absentee fathers

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David Cameron waded into a debate on family breakdown and race by backing Barack Obama's assertion that too many fathers are neglecting their duties to their children.

The Conservative leader said many black church leaders had expressed their concerns to him about absent fathers.

Calling for a "responsibility revolution" to change patterns of behaviour, Mr Cameron said Mr Obama was "absolutely right" when he warned that some African American men were behaving like teenagers and abandoning their parental responsibilities.

In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Cameron said: "I think he's absolutely right. I mean I think it's a very brave thing to do. And it will have a huge influence that he has said it.

"I've had a number of meetings with black church leaders who make the same point. They are concerned about family breakdown and social breakdown, and want to see what I call a responsibility revolution take place."

He called for the discrimination and economic disadvantage black people have experienced to be tackled, but said: "At the same time we will never solve the long term problems unless people also take responsibility for their own lives".

Mr Cameron's comments came after he set out an "economic recovery plan" yesterday to help deal with the fallout from the credit crunch and safeguard thousands of jobs.

During a speech to business leaders in London, Mr Cameron admitted Britain's economic woes may mean taxes would have to rise if the Tory party won the next general election.