Impact of Government Policies and Laws on Family Life: Sociological View

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Using material from Item 2B and elsewhere, assess sociological views of the impact of government policies and laws on family life (24 marks)

Social policies are laws made by the state to bring a change to society. As stated in item 2B different political policies have different ideologies and agendas that they will try and reinforce through the family.

One example of a social policy is The Family Act Law in 1996 which is a part of John Majors ‘Back to Basics Campaign’ and this introduced a one year waiting period before a couple could file for divorce. It was implemented to encourage and reinforce the nuclear family and give couples a chance to work on their relationships and not choose the easy way out. This policy was to favour New
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This policy contrasts with the government policy in Romania in the 1980s where the former communist government attempted to increase the birth rate by putting restrictions on contraception and abortion, setting up fertility centres, making divorce more difficult to obtain and forcing childless couples to pay an extra 5% income tax. This was set up to increase the population and therefore increase the size families in Romania. In China, there was a one child policy to reduce population size and discouraged couples from having more than one child. According to Adrian Wilson (1985) the policy is supervised by workplace family planning committees, women must seek permission to try and become to try to become pregnant, and there is a waiting list and a quota for each factory. Couples who comply with the policy get extra benefits such as free health care and higher tax allowances, An only child will also get priority in education and housing in later life. Couples who break the agreement must repay their allowances and pay a fine. Women are also faced the pressure to undergo sterilization after their first child. This encourages people to have one child and therefore affects family life by controlling family size through this policy.

Another social policy is Working Family Tax Credit introduced by labour government and improves the conditions of the underclass. It is a state benefit made to families that work and have low income. It was implemented to provide a system of
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