Written evidence submitted by Mr John Wynar [HAB0074]

 

I feel that any legislative changes with regard to cohabitation are ultimately self-defeating and not cost effective. I give my reasons for such a view below:

Giving cohabiting couples the same financial and legal advantages as married people is morally unfair. Marriage is and always has been the gold standard for relationships between a man and a woman providing a stable home background for the nurturing of children. Over 50% of children of cohabiting parents have seen their parents separate before age five. For married couples this drops to just 15% of five year olds. The resulting cost to the state for family breakdowns already runs into the tens of billions of pounds in support and benefits.

Cohabiting couples have made a conscience decision that the long-term commitment which comes with marriage is not for them. Providing the legal framework for cohabitees is effectively forcing them into a situation they have specifically tried to avoid. Various financial issues can be addressed via other avenues e.g. inheritance concerns could be provided for by arranging a will. For those who do want a ‘half-way house’ between marriage and cohabiting then they can enter into a civil partnership; there is no need to create yet another alternative to marriage.

Government should be encouraging more couples to marry and stay together with financial incentives, for example, rather than cohabit. These monies would be more than made up for through savings to the NHS and other departments since it is well known that married couples tend to have improved health outcomes compared to those in other relationships. Cohabiting women are reported to have a much higher incidence of obesity, smoking and drug use than those who are married. Married men too have improved health and cancer survival rates, and generally happier.

June 2021