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A government-backed study has shown that for every pound couples spend on marriage counselling and preparation courses, taxpayers could save up to £11.50.
The Department of Education commissioned the independent evaluation as part of the government's ongoing policy to support marriage. Relationship breakdown is estimated to cost the UK economy £46 billion each year. This includes benefits for single parents, housing costs and health costs linked to family break-up. The report included looking at services offered by Relate's couples counselling and Marriage Care's marriage preparation. It assessed how these marital services manage to reduce the risk of relationship breakdown and in turn reduce costs.
Mark Molden, Chief Executive of Marriage Care, welcomed the report's findings and recommendations: 'We know that relationship support works and we would encourage people of all ages to find out more about how the services evaluated in this report could help them at different stages of their relationships. We must also continue to help other professionals and service providers understand more about what we do, so that they can direct people to our services in their day to day work. It's not just about getting support when there's a crisis; it's about building and maintaining strong relationships which see people through everything that happens during our increasingly busy and fast-paced lives.'
The report also found that better signposting to these services was necessary so that more couples were aware of them, but that once a couple had already used them they were more likely to be able to access relationship support in the future.