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Christians back bill to put families at the heart of government policy

by Hannah Tooley

Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, wants a bill to be introduced that will ensure all policies and legislation consider the impact there will be on family life.

She introduced the Assessment of Government Policies (Impact on Families) Bill and the legislation will receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Friday.

Christian charity, CARE, support the idea and James Mildred from the charity told Premier that: "The original purpose of the family test: to assess every domestic government policy, to make sure that it does not harm - in any way - family life throughout the United Kingdom.

"We think it's a really good idea.

"But what we discovered as we looked at the evidence is that, the family test since it was introduced, has not been used properly."

If passed the legislation would mean the Prime Minister's family test, which he announced in August 2014, would become obligatory for all government departments.

The idea is then that the results of the impact assessment would have to be published - and if a policy idea fails the test and the department plans to still go ahead, a duty will be placed on them to explain why.

James Mildred added that it would prevent family breakdown if used properly.

He said that: "This is about recognising that all of us want healthy families to form a healthy social environment.

"Families are the best way of helping tackle a whole range of social problems.

"Whatever the social problem you can think of, a policy approach should always begin with the family."

CARE CEO Nola Leach said: "Family breakdown is costing the Treasury £47billion each year and if any other problem was causing the Treasury to lose so much money, you can be sure everything would be done to guarantee government policy was not making the situation any worse.

"By backing this bill, the government would send a powerful signal to families across the UK that family life will be protected and safeguarded against policies that would otherwise undermine it."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to James Mildred here:

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