The findings coincided with the launch of the National Family and Parenting Institute by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary. He said the idea of a golden age of marriage was a myth and "we need to remind ourselves of that so we don't get into a panic that in our society the foundations of the family are dissolving".
A MORI poll of 2,059 people showed that seven out of 10 thought that parenting was a skill that had to be learnt and only a fifth felt that being married was important to a child's happiness.
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