Marriage in Government Policy — [Mr Andrew Rosindell in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 10:51 am on 30th January 2018.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 10:51 am, 30th January 2018

It is a pleasure to begin my Front-Bench career under your beady eye, Mr Rosindell. I congratulate my hon. Friend Derek Thomas on securing this debate and pay tribute to the work that he has done over the years on this issue, which is deeply important to him. I also thank hon. Members for a sensitive and thoughtful debate.

The Government are committed to supporting families, and it is right to draw attention to an issue that affects a wide range of Departments as well as mine. This debate was called in connection with Marriage Week, which takes place between 5 and 14 February. That provides a good opportunity to celebrate the commitment and connectedness that a stable relationship brings to a family.

The Government’s view is that families are fundamental in shaping individuals and that they have an overwhelmingly positive effect on wider society. Growing up in families where parents are collaborative and communicate well gives children the environment they need to develop into happy and successful adults. The vital institution of marriage is a strong symbol of wider society’s desire to celebrate commitment between partners.

The institution of marriage can be the basis of a successful family life and many people make this important commitment every year. Marriage can lay the foundations for parenthood and is emblematic of the love and security that parents need to raise a child. The Government will continue to champion and encourage stable families that provide nurturing environments for children. That is why we are focused on helping families and children, to enhance the educational and employment opportunities available to the young and to reinforce the benefits that parental collaboration will undoubtedly have.

Although the Government support the positive impact that the stability of marriage can bring to family life, this debate is also an opportunity to celebrate the fact that relationships that provide the foundation for a stable and supportive family life across the United Kingdom come in different shapes and sizes. The Government recognise that a supportive family can take many different forms. Marriage plays an important role in our society, but we are committed to supporting different, and equally important, types of families, too.