SPFB #9 Conservatives and Coalition Family Policies

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  • Conservatives and Coalition Family Policies:
    • Hayton (2010)
      • On the other hand traditionalists believed that the party should continue to support traditional families as the best form of domestic relationships
      • saw a division between the two parties with the liberal modernisers who felt the part was out of step by condemning non-traditional families
    • William Hague
      • This included in 2000 a commitment to married couple's tax allowance which would reward marriage with a £1,000 reduction in their tax bills compared to a cohabitating couple
      • adopted a more liberal approach for example, he voted in favour of lowering the age on consent for homosexuals to 16, however support was minimal and he had to revert back to more traditional views
    • The next leader Ian Duncan Smith continued with this traditional standpoint, in 2002 he voted against giving unmarried and gay couple the same adoption rights as married heterosexuals
    • When Michal Howard took over he tired to avoided this division.
    • Haydon 2010- "Under Howard, the Party gave the impression that it was reluctantly conceding to social change, rather that welcoming and adapting to it enthusiast-ically!
    • David Cameron in Opposition
      • He put family at the heart of his political agenda, especially traditional heterosexual ones
      • Cameron took over in 2005 and described himself as a "Liberal Conservative" with a more tolerant view on diversity for example he was a supporter of civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples
      • In 2010 the conservatives promised benefits for traditional families in the form of a tax break for married couples rather than cohabitating ones
      • He combined the best of all areas, suggesting the "marriage works" but that cohabitation or single parenthood was also fine (Kirby 2009)
    • The coalition watered down the conservatives stance on families, instead of abolishing the "couple penalty" i.e. they receive less support than two people living alone, they suggested a reductions
    • In 2010 the Conservatives did not win an outright majority in the House of Commons even though they were the largest party, so entered a coalition with the Liberal Democrats
    • In the emergency budget in 2010 the Lord Chancellor George Osborne announced a number of polices to freeze child tax credits - another result of the coalition government
    • Brown (2010)
      • In comparison the average reduction for al households was just 0.9%
      • He found that between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016 their real income would fall by 4.2% as a result of all the changed introduced by the government.
      • For example a couple with no child would lose on average £215 per year, whereas a couple with children would lose "1,250 per year
      • In summary suggested that the polices found that families with children (Whether lone-parent or town-parent families) were going to do particularly badly
      • Based on these figures, Brown estimated that the number of children in relative poverty would increase by about 400,000 over this period and the number in absolute poverty by about 500,000

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