Youth and Authority 5

Perhaps before continuing, I can just make one comment arising from this before we get carried away with the issues about inter-agency understanding. There are hard issues about resources and priorities in our community. I raise the subject of the impact of divorce on the problem we are discussing and at a time when the divorce rate is continuing to rise, in Milton Keynes alone the Marriage Guidance Council and the Family Welfare Association are facing immense problems about funding, and my own service, the Probation Service, is being pressured by the Home Office to limit the resources that it puts into divorce work. Peter Bottomley MP in 1979 asked the following question and it remains apt: “is it an explicit Government decision that this country should spend 30 times as much on legal aid to help us get divorced and separated as is spent on all forms of marriage guidance and counselling?”

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