On 9th May Lord Farmer asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the policies recommended in the Manifesto to Strengthen Families, published on 6 September 2017; and what steps they plan to take in response to those recommendations.” The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, prior to publication of the manifesto, the previous Prime Minister declared that a family test would be applied to all government policy. Would this not require not just a Cabinet-level overseer but for each department to have someone responsible for applying the family test? Does that exist?
Lord Agnew of Oulton: My Lords, the family test was introduced in 2014. It includes five questions. I will not go through all of them but I will mention a couple just to illustrate what we are trying to do: first, what kind of impact might the policy have on family formation; and, secondly, what kind of impact will the policy have on families going through key transitions such as becoming parents, getting married and so on? So the test is already operating on a voluntary basis. We are cautious about making it statutory because that would very much remove flexibility in how it was used.