I DO not believe that the Government should be providing financial incentives to get married.

For a start, it seems strangely intrusive. Getting married (or divorced) is surely a deeply personal decision between two people. It is a weird idea that the Government knows better than the couple themselves whether they should marry. I do not want every aspect of our private lives to be directed and micro-managed by the Government.

The idea is also strangely hostile towards some deserving people. Who would lose out? The abandoned spouse, the war widow and the victim of domestic abuse. Along with people who are single by choice or otherwise, they would be giving their money to married couples.

So the multi-millionaire husband and wife would have their lifestyle boosted by their non-married cleaning lady or dustman. That is a very odd priority, especially when money is so tight, with a deficit of £178 billion this year.

It is not even a pro-family policy. A childless married couple would be taking money from a non-married couple with children.

I am also cautious about the link that is made between marriage and childhood educational achievement. Successful middle-class couples are more likely to be married and more likely to have successful children, but their children are usually still successful even if they are not married.

I want children to be raised in a stable environment whenever possible. I think marriage is great for very many people, but not necessarily everyone. And if a marriage depends on the Government's permission and a cash handout to survive, then it is probably not going to last for long.