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10 June 2013

Report says a million children in the UK are growing up without fathers

A million UK children are growing up without a father in their lives, the BBC reports a new report on family breakdown as saying.

The Centre for Social Justice report says lone parent families are increasing by more than 20,000 a year, and will top two million by the next general election.

In some areas fatherlessness has reached such high levels that they are virtual "men deserts", it adds.
And it accuses politicians on all sides of a "feeble" response.

The report says the number of single parent households has been rising steadily over the past 40 years, and that now 3m children are growing up predominantly with their mothers.

This has led to a huge number of children growing up without a meaningful relationship with their fathers - which the report defines as contact twice a year or more.

The absence of fathers is linked to higher rates of teenage crime, pregnancy and disadvantage, the report says, warning that the UK is experiencing a "tsunami" of family breakdown.

And it highlights areas of the UK with very high levels of lone parent households - although this does not necessarily mean the children living in them have no contact with their fathers.

In one neighbourhood in the Riverside ward of Liverpool, there is no father present in 65% of homes with dependent children. Liverpool has eight out of the top 20 areas with the highest levels of fatherless households.

There are 236 pockets of towns in England and Wales where more than 50% of households with dependent children are headed by a lone mother.

And an area in the Manor Castle ward of Sheffield tops the lone parent league table - among households with dependent children, 75% are headed by a lone parent.

Mr Guy adds: "For children growing up in some of the poorest parts of the country, men are rarely encountered in the home or in the classroom. This is an ignored form of deprivation that can have profoundly damaging consequences on social and mental development.

"There are 'men deserts' in many parts of our towns and cities and we urgently need to wake up to what is going wrong."

Read more on this story here.