Lilley takes fresh line on family break-ups

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Indy Politics
THE power of government to prevent the 'alarmingly' high number of family break-ups was 'far less significant' than many commentators suggested, Peter Lilley, Secretary of State for Social Security said yesterday, writes Donald Macintyre.

His speech will be contrasted with one made last month by Virginia Bottomley in which the Secretary of State for Health emphasised the need for government policies to underpin the family unit whether or not it had two parents. And it will be also seen as an attempt to forestall the strong emphasis on the importance of the family underlying the Labour leadership pitch of Tony Blair, shadow Home Secretary.

He described break-ups as 'deeply disturbing' - but insisted the fate of families depended on those within them.

He told an Anglican-Catholic diocesan conference at Birmingham Cathedral that the family was under unprecedented stress.

'As a result of divorce, separation and illegitimacy some two million children are brought up by a lone parent,' he said, adding: 'Most children, even from broken homes, do not become criminals, drug addicts or misfits - they grow up to be sober, law-abiding, responsible citizens.'