TCCR leads call from prominent academics, parliamentarians and voluntary sector leaders for greater investment in relationship support

72 prominent academics, parliamentarians and voluntary sector leaders have called on the Government to increase investment in relationship support services to tackle family breakdown.

In a letter published by The Telegraph on Monday 14th September 2015, the signatories wrote:

"The Government recognises family breakdown is a root cause of poverty and the importance of strong relationships for a thriving society. However current levels of relationship breakdown cost the country an estimated £47bn, with just £7.5m currently available for prevention.
We know we live in straitened times but funding must be commensurate to the scale of the problem – there is an increasing demand for support, yet many cannot afford services. So we are calling on the Government to treble preventive funding to £22m.
This would be enough to invest in interventions we know make a difference, help boost children’s life chances and send a signal that couple relationships and marriage provide a vital underpinning to our lives.
Family instability can have a devastating effect on mental and physical health, workplace productivity and reoffending rates, and children’s educational attainment. The Government rightly recognises that working through relationship difficulties can deliver significant savings to the public purse. However this work must be properly resourced".
One of the driving forces behind the letter, Susanna Abse, Chief Executive of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, commented: "The fact that so many leading academics, authors, voluntary sector leaders and parliamentarians have put their names to this letter is an indication of how important this area is to national policy-making. The Government has gone some way to recognising this; however, much more needs to be done, and could be done - through evidence-based interventions to support couples and their children - if this vital work were more adequately resourced".

The list of signatories is as follows:

Susanna Abse, Chief Executive, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships

Caroline Ansell MP

Graham Allen MP

Graham Alton, Chief Executive, Changing Futures NE

Reg Bailey CBE, Chair of the Bailey Review on the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood

Professor Jane Barlow, Pro-Dean (Research), Warwick University

Amanda Batten, CEO Contact a Family

Fiona Bruce MP

Professor Ros Bryar, Institute of Health Visiting

Adrienne Burgess, Chief Executive, Fatherhood Institute 

Dr Samantha Callan, Associate Director, Centre for Social Justice

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, Manchester Business School 

Louise Chunn, Founder,

Jeremy Clarke OBE FBACP, Trustee, Albany Trust

Elizabeth Coe, Chief Executive, NACCC

Sir Paul Coleridge, Founder and Chairman, Marriage Foundation

Martha Cover, Vice-Chair, Association of Lawyers for Children

Professor Dame Sarah Cowley, Kings College London

Jon Cruddas MP

John Deagle, Chief Executive, Southampton Community Family Trust              

Baroness Deech

Viv Evans, Chief Executive, Adfam

Lord Farmer

Gary Fereday, Chief Executive, British Psychoanalytic Council

Catherine Fieschi, Director, Counterpoint

Kate Figes, Author 

Nick Haisman-Smith, Chief Executive, Family Links

Professor Gordon Harold, Andrew and Virginia Rudd Professor of Psychology, Sussex University

Katharine Hill, Director of Policy, Care for the Family

Juliet Hillier, Chief Executive, Brook

George Hosking OBE, Founder, CEO and Research Co-ordinator, WAVE Trust

Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive, DePaul UK

Oliver James, Psychologist and Author

Colin Jones, Chief Executive, Resolution

Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health, Centre for Child Mental Health

Andy Keen-Downs, Chief Executive, Pact

Danny Kruger, Chief Executive, Only Connect 

Professor Lord Layard, London School of Economics

Nicky and Sila Lee, authors, The Marriage Course

Jeremy Lefroy MP

Earl of Listowel

Penny Mansfield CBE, Director, One Plus One

Julia Margo, Chief Executive, Family and Childcare Trust

Mark Molden, Chief Executive, Marriage Care

Professor Mervyn Murch, Emeritus Professor, Cardiff Law School

David Murphy, Chief Executive, Relate Northern Ireland

Helen O'Brien, Chief Executive, Caritas Social Action Network    

Michael Oglesby, Founder, Oglesby Charitable Trust

Susie Orbach, Psychoanalyst and Writer

Rob Parkinson, Chief Executive, HomeStart UK

Nick Pearce, Chair of TCCR

David and Liz Percival, Founders, 2-in-2-1   

James Pirrie, Director, FLiP (Family Law in Partnership)

Professor Stefan Priebe, Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute

Kulbir Randhawa, Director, Asian Family Counselling Service

Gwilym Roberts, Chief Executive, Relate Cymru

Jason Royce, Project Director, Romance Academy      

Stan Ruszczynski, Psychoanalyst, The Portman Clinic

Sir Michael Rutter, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London

Helen Savage, Mediator, Mediation Now & Trustee, Southampton Community Family Trust

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive, Relate

David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre

Professor Peter Stratton, Emeritus Professor of Family Therapy, Leeds

Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive, Samaritans

Professor Mary Target, Professor of Psychoanalysis, Anna Freud Centre

Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive, Family Lives         

Michael Trend, Executive Director, Relationships Foundation

Professor Liz Trinder, Professor of Socio-legal Studies, Law School, University of Exeter

Professor Jan Walker OBE, Emeritus Professor of Family Policy, Newcastle University

Sarah Wellard, Director of Policy and Research, Grandparents Plus

Dr Hadyn Williams, Chief Executive, BACP

Hazel Wright, Partner, Hunters Solicitors


Read the letter online here.


For further information contact:

John Fenna | Head of Marketing & Communications

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Note to editors

The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) provides a comprehensive range of affordable counselling services for couples and individuals facing relationship problems.  To find out more about the range of services offered visit or call 020 7380 1975.

TCCR also runs a variety of practitioner trainings, ranging from introductory courses to doctoral programmes in couple counselling and psychotherapy.

TCCR is recognised in its field as a centre of advanced practice and study, both nationally and internationally. Our ethos is to develop practice, research and policy activities which complement and inform the development of services to couples.