Marriage IS what matters most to family stability as only 3% of unmarried couples stay together until their child is 16

Mail Online 21st January 2010
Marriage is more important than all other factors in family stability, according to new research which demolishes Labour’s central argument against tax breaks for wedded couples. As the main parties went to war over how to support families, Ed Balls’s rejection of the importance of marriage was branded ‘demonstrably untrue’. Attacking the Tories’ pledge to bring Britain into line with most of Europe by introducing tax breaks for married couples, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary conceded that the evidence suggested marriage helped ‘children do better’. But he insisted: ‘Once you adjust for the fact that people who are married tend to marry older, be better educated and have higher incomes, you find it is not the legal form, it is the strength and stability of the relationship which is most important.’

That assertion was promptly challenged by research suggesting marriage is in fact the number one factor in relationship stability. Harry Benson, of the Bristol Community Family Trust, said: ‘Based on data of 15,000 new mothers, marriage is the single biggest predictor, above and beyond the effects of income, education, age, ethnic group, benefit receipt and birth order.