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January 2011

Wellbeing

The Relationships Foundation has welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on wellbeing in society, which put the family at the heart of the ‘Big society’.

     Michael Trend, executive director of the foundation, said that since the coalition government came to power last year, the foundation had been concerned at the lack of focus on the family as a core ingredient in society.

     However, after Mr Cameron’s speech in November, he said, ‘While there is much merit in refocusing the Department of Children, Families and Schools on its original role as the Department for Education, losing “family” from any Cabinet minister’s primary responsibility is surely a problem.

     ‘Without a champion at the heart of Government, the family-friendly agenda is unlikely to succeed. There needs to be top-level leadership on the family and family policy should have a central role in government.

     ‘We hope that his commitment to measure wellbeing signals that the Government will give the serious attention to the impact of policy on relationships that we have advocated so strongly’.

     The speech given by Mr Cameron contained the significant message that getting relationships right is arguably the most important agenda in public policy, public services, business, communities and our personal lives.

     Announcing the launch of the ‘wellbeing index’, Mr Cameron said, ‘We will measure progress not by standard of living, but by our quality of life. Our urgent priority is to get the economy moving. But people’s wellbeing often depends on the quality of their relationships’.

     ‘So why, as a country, do we spend billions and billions on the consequences of family breakdown, but so little on trying to help families stay together? We spend £20m on the budget or Relate but £20bn on the consequences of social breakdown’.

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