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Nearly one child in three is living without their father or mother.
In a bleak picture of disintegrating family life, researchers found that there are 3.8million such children, the great majority of them in single-parent families. They make up 30 per cent of the country’s children and their numbers are up by nearly a fifth over the past decade, according to a study by the Office for National Statistics published yesterday.
But the disclosure of the rapidly rising numbers of broken families brought new pressure on the Coalition Government to shore up the institution of marriage.
Tuesday’s Budget contained no mention of the Tory election pledge to give tax breaks to married couples.
Their numbers have grown by 600,000 since 1999, the ONS said.
The increase in children of broken homes came during the years when the Labour government maintained that all family types are equally good for children and the benefit system was re-shaped to reward single parents and penalise couples.
According to Jacob Flaster, who works for the Lone Soldier Center, the majority of the attendees were American-born immigrants — English, peppered with Hebrew army-isms, was the language of the evening — but approximately 20 to 30 percent were native-born Israeli lone soldiers.
Labour preferred diversity to stability and failed children – the new Government needs to turn this around.’ Single people and cohabiting couples will significantly outnumber the married by the 2030s, the ONS said.
Already the proportion of people who are husbands or wives has fallen below half the adult population to 49 per cent.
But mothers aged 30-34 are 44 per cent more likely to be married.
Last month figures showed that 27,000 babies were born to mothers over 40 last year, nearly three times the level of 20 years ago.
ONS analyst Ben Wilson said: ‘Growth in the number of children with a non-resident parent is one dimension of an increasing diversity of family forms.’ But supporters of the traditional family called on David Cameron’s government to act to try to help two-parent families stay together.