Couples to get free counselling to cut cost of broken homes

Telegraph (UK) 07 Feb 2011
Couples will receive free counselling sessions to help them stay together as part of a Government drive to support marriage and cut down the cost of family breakdown. Ministers believe that putting taxpayers’ money towards encouraging couples to marry and stick together could end up saving billions in future, including millions of pounds a year in welfare bills. In a major speech this week, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will highlight the example of Norway, where divorce rates have fallen for the last 15 years after the government there introduced a state-sponsored “relationship education programme”. Under a £30 million programme of “relationship support,” British couples will in future be able to attend counselling sessions in Sure Start Children’s Centres. Cohabiting partners with children as well as married couples will be offered the sessions if they are going through “relationship stress,” with advice given on how to stay together. Those who do decide to part will receive counselling on how to “minimise the negative impacts for children when relationships unfortunately breakdown,” officials said