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Chief Rabbi criticises government over marriage

David Cameron's being accused by Britain's retiring Chief Rabbi of not doing enough to encourage marriage. Lord Sacks, who retires next month after 22 years in the post, thinks the Government should recognise it in the tax system and also do more to support stay-at-home mums.

In an interview with The Times he said:

"I think the government has not done enough [to encourage marriage].

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

"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."

"[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.

"I don't believe in getting involved in the details but the principle is pretty clear."

David Burrowes MP told Premier's Victoria Laurence during the News Hour it shouldn't all be about money:

Chancellor George Osborne has already promised a tax break for married couples in his autumn statement. Premier's Political Editor Martyn Eden explains more about that and other government plans:

In the interview Lord Sacks also said multiculturalism in Britain had had led to "segregation and inward-looking communities". He compared it to a hotel where "nobody is at home".

He said:

"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.

"The real danger in a multicultural society is that every ethnic group and religious group becomes a pressure group, putting our people's interest instead of the national interest."

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who is a former chief rabbi of Ireland, will take over from Lord Sacks.

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