title: 'British children growing up in man deserts' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    Britain has more fractured families than ever before, with more than a million children growing up without a father, and few male influences like teachers in their lives. Findings from the Centre for Social Justice show that the number of single parent families is growing by 20,000 a year. VoR’s Nima Green reports. The lack of male role models in the lives of British children is a cause of significant social instability. That is according to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) who say that some children are growing up in what they call ''man deserts". This means that not only do they have no father in their lives, but that they have no guidance and advice from male leaders at school. Around 80 percent of primary schools have fewer than three male teachers. And this lack of male input is set to become more pronounced. Tsunami of family breakdown The Fractured Families report predicts that by 2015, there will be more than two million children growing up fatherless. The CSJ warns that this is a form of "devastating deprivation”, which damages mental development, results in more youth crime, poverty and teenage pregnancy. However, some campaigners are concerned that the findings do little more than to stigmatise single mothers. Lucy Able from single parent charity Gingerbread said the report is unrealistic and unhelpful. However, the CSJ warns that there is a “tsunami” of family breakdown across the country, and that government policies are facilitating it. Costly The report estimates that family breakdown costs around in £46 billion a year, or £1,541 per taxpayer. Broken down, if a parent has children without a husband or co-habiting partner, the immediate cost to the taxpayer, in the form of benefits and foregone taxes, is between £4000 to £12,000. Kathy Gyngell, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies, said that we have a welfare system that does not discourage women with no means to support a child from getting pregnant. The report suggests that the instability of cohabiting couples, rather than a surge in divorce rates, is fuelling the disintegration of families. Cohabiting parents are three times more likely to separate by the time a child is five than married couples. Government's responsibilities However, Kathy Gyngell said that whatever the marital status of a couple, the government should do more to tackle the issue of absent fathers. She said that this should involve rethinking the tax and benefit system to make fathers more of a financial contributor than the state. She argued that politicians are paralysed and refuse to make this change due to the deep unpopularity of cuts during a time of austerity. Many lone parent families are from the most deprived areas of the UK. Lucy Abell from Gingerbread said that the negative effects associated with lone parenthood are actually caused by poverty rather than a family's structure. She also explained that the idea of a teenage-benefits-scrounger-mum is a media myth. The CSJ is calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to keep his campaign pledge to be the most “family-friendly government”, and stem what they are calling a British social "epidemic".

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