New data claims that one in five British children now lives with a single parent. The new figures from Luxembourg-based Eurostat may point to a subsequent lack of stronger relationships outside marriage, plus drag along higher chances of poorer school performance and health, so it is claimed. Historically in the UK, half of all people in lone parent families live on low incomes.
Higher than EU average
Drilling into the figures, 20.8% of UK children were living in single parent households in 2008, claims Eurostat. This figure was only bettered by Estonia and Latvia in Eastern Europe, and Ireland, where nearly one in four children - 23.2% - lived with a single parent.
That's significantly higher than France (13.5%), Holland (11.5%), Italy (10.8%) and Spain (7.1%). Indeed, the Spanish figures indicate the most family cohesion out of the main European states.
Previously David Cameron has called for tax breaks for married couples, though this stance is in conflict with other government agencies - and Nick Clegg.
"We should not take a particular version of the family institution, such as the 1950s model of suit-wearing, bread-winning dad and aproned, home-making mother, and try to preserve it in aspic," Clegg said in a recent speech."That's why open society liberals and big society conservatives will take a different view on a tax break for marriage."
Would financial incentives really help keep a troubled marriage together? Probably not in most cases. But aside from the issue of children, some people won't marry because they won't find the right partner. Or they don't agree with the institution of marriage. Is it really right these people are taxed more?