BP:ss TwIsToN DAVIEs THE LORD CHANCELLOR'S endorsement of National Marriage Week drew heavy criticism from Christian groups involved in the celebration of married life this week.
The Evangelical marriage support group Marriage Resource received a £75,000 grant from the Lord Chancellor's office to fund the second National Marriage week. But a leading Christian group involved in the campaign attacked the Lord Chancellor for over-taxing families. Care, Christian Action Research Education, estimates that twoparent families pay 50 per cent more tax than a single person with no dependents.
Charlie Colchester, Executive Director of Care, said: "The Chancellor's pre-budget statement does nothing for marriage. If the Government does not make a change soon people will not believe it will do anything to strengthen the family."
But the Prime Minister eagerly embraced the chance to show his commitment to marriage following opposition leader William Hague's criticism of the abolition of the married couples allowance last month.
Mr Blair and wife Cherie emerged from 10 Downing Street on Tuesday to receive a dozen red roses from Richard Kane, the Director of Marriage Resource and Organiser of National Marriage Week.
The Lord Chancellor's Directory of Marriage Support Organizations was launched at the House of Commons on Tuesday. Daily Telegraph Agony Aunt Anne Atkins gave a talk on "The Radical Nature of Marriage" at the launch. • CATHOLIC CHARITY Marriage Care announced last week that over 500 people have called their national telephone line for couples in difficulty since it was set up in June, writes Greg Watts.
Mary Corbett, Director of Marriage Care, said: "We know that people have approached the help line that might not have approached anyone else. We believe that the telephone help line prevents problems becoming a crisis."
Marriage Care also runs a marriage preparation and support programme in Plymouth and a dropin service in South London. All Marriage Care schemes are funded by the Lord Chancellor's office.
The Marriage Care help line telephone number is 0171-243 1898. Lines are open daily from 3pm and 9pm.