Do more on marriage, chief rabbi tells ministers

Chief Rabbi Sacks Chief Rabbi Sacks will be replaced by Ephraim Mirvis next month

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Ministers must do more to encourage marriage and support stay-at-home mothers, the UK's chief rabbi has said.

Lord Sacks, who is about to step down from his post after 22 years, told the Times the government "should certainly recognise marriage in the tax system".

"It should certainly give more support to mothers who stay at home or for childcare provision," he added.

Chancellor George Osborne has already promised a tax break for married couples in his Autumn Statement.

But Mr Osborne's coalition partners the Liberal Democrats are opposed to the move.

"I think the government has not done enough," Lord Sacks said.

"Although I don't take a political stance... I don't think the government has done enough at all.

Start Quote

I have huge regard for mothers who want to stay at home and look after their children”

End Quote Chancellor George Osborne

"The state has an interest in marriage because the cost of family breakdown and non-marriage, the last time I looked at it, was estimated at £9bn a year."

His words echo the views of some Conservative MPs who have expressed anger that a planned tax credit scheme worth up to £1,200 a child to help working parents with childcare costs will not benefit stay-at-home parents.

The government says the overall scheme will help 2.5 million families.

Earlier this month, Mr Osborne told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "I have huge regard for mothers who want to stay at home and look after their children.

"That's their lifestyle choice. I want to help those families too - I'm not trying to be exclusive.

"We have a proposal on married couples' tax breaks which I'm going to introduce in the Autumn Statement later this year... that will help stay-at-home mothers."

In his Times interview, Lord Sacks also said multi-culturalism had "had its day" and had led to "segregation and inward-looking communities".

He compared it to a hotel where "nobody is at home".

"It doesn't belong to anyone, we've each got our own room and so long as we don't disturb the neighbours we can do whatever we like," he added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    It seems to me that marrage looks like a good idea when you are young and starting out in life but to be honest when I look around at the people who have reached middle age , many people have managed without it , many are damaged an in a mess from it and very few are happy in it .Its valueless to people today who break it if it does not suit them, why bother with it and why give it tax breakes ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    I'm married and we have two children.

    I cannot see why I or anyone else should get a tax break for being married, why & for what?

    I also can't see why we should get any kind of benefit for having children, it was our choice.

    Maybe if more people had to live with the consequences of their actions we'd have fewer children being brought up by people who have failed to grow up themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    I've ceased trying to understand child/family policy and now, why mums who stay at home think they need help with childcare.

    As a single mum, I work full time, I pay my mortgage, I bring up my son, I pay childcare, I claim nothing. So much easier than all that whinging about the unfairness of it all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    Despite my education, I have never been on much of a wage. When I was single (not long ago) this was fine- I could still afford a nice lifestyle.

    Now hubby and I are hoping to have children (both working), but are crippled with expense. Running a family home and creating a modest lifestyle for a child is extremely expensive. We have my stepdaughter half the week and caring for her alone costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Partner and I are making plans to get married, and the subject of children has come up. We are both in agreement, that whilst we'd love to have them one day, it is not now because we simply could not afford to have them.
    In my humble opinion, it is grossly unfair on both the child and the state to have kids and then expect everyone else to pay for them.


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