PRIME MINISTER David Cameron launched a breathtaking exercise in PR spin yesterday with “fictitious” claims that his cuts-obsessed government would now put families first.
The Tory leader vowed that from this autumn every piece of new legislation would face a formal “family test” to check its impact.
And he restated his party’s intention to roll out its part-funded “intervention” strategy to target another 380,000 “troubled families.”
Alongside policy related to adoptions and cash for charity relationship counselling this would now be the “personal responsibility” of bungling Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the PM announced.
Skating over his party’s £15 billion cuts assault on parents and children, glib Mr Cameron declared that “there is powerful evidence that a strong family unit can have a huge impact on improving the life chances of our children.”
“Nothing matters more than family,” he said.
But critics easily torpedoed the PM’s claims by pointing out that existing policy had already hit families the length and breadth of Britain in the pocket to the tune of £2,073 a year.
The bedroom tax, which sees social security payments slashed for households deemed to have a spare room, is estimated to have affected up to 375,000 children.
Freezes on child benefit, tax credits and maternity payments mean an average family with a new baby is £2,000 worse off.
And the number of SureStart children’s centres designed to support parents in bringing up youngsters has dropped by more than 600 since the Tories came to power in 2010.
Labour shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: “David Cameron’s fictitious family friendly agenda won’t fool anyone.
“Working parents are worse off and thousands have been hit by the bedroom tax.
“The government has let families down by standing up for just a privileged few.”
Child Poverty Action Group expert Paul Treloar said: “The Prime Minister says he makes no apologies for backing marriage.
“But families come in all shapes and sizes — they all need and deserve the kind of protection that a ‘family test’ promises to provide.
“We hope the proposed test does assess the impact of policies on all family types — proposals favouring some family types over others are exactly the kind of flawed policy a ‘family test’ should be blocking.”