Straw's brother attacks policies on the family

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Indy Politics

Jack Straw's brother launched an embarassing attack yesterday on the Government's family policies and Gordon Brown's spending priorities.

Jack Straw's brother launched an embarassing attack yesterday on the Government's family policies and Gordon Brown's spending priorities.

Ed Straw, the chairman of Relate, said existing divorce law was "a nonsense", and ministers were "spending a fortune" on the cost of failure, rather than preventing family and social breakdown.

Mr Straw, head of the former Marriage Guidance Council, said policy was "all aboutpicking up the pieces when things go wrong", with huge spending on social services, crime and educational under-attainment.

"Now if you take all of that money and stick it into prevention and helping at the right time, it's not actually, in the long run, about spending more money," he said. His comments, in an interview for LWT's Love Bites Back programme to be broadcast tonight, are sure to be seized on by the Tories as proof that Labour's spending priorities are wrong.

"It's about cutting government expenditure - and on top of that, the more family stability you have, the less benefits payments you make," said Mr Straw. "There really is a major issue for Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer - does he realise that stable, contented, productive families, of whatever form, are actually very good economics?

"The state does odd things when it should be getting out the way, and it doesn't do things when it should be getting in the way. What the Government should be doing is parenting education, relationship education, sex education, skilling people in ways which mean people can live their lives better and make better choices."

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