Coalition plans marriage fund

IAIN Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is said to be planning a £30m “relationship support” scheme designed to encourage couples to get married and stay together.

The scheme, which was devised after studying the reasons for the falling divorce rate in Norway, will be unveiled this week as part of a raft of benefit changes that will see single parents lose out to their married counterparts.

New research show that the cost of family breakdown to the UK taxpayer is around £24bn a year in various tax credits and benefits.