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The BBC's Karen Bowerman
"It seems parents are growing more dissatisfied"
 real 56k

Friday, 20 October, 2000, 03:28 GMT
British 'intolerant of children'

Children are often made to feel unwelcome in restaurants
Britain is one of the least family-friendly countries in Europe, according to a report.

Research carried out by the National Family and Parenting Institute shows that British parents get fewer perks than most of their European counterparts.

It also reveals that parents believe British people are not tolerant of children, and they feel uncomfortable when they go out socially as a family.

The report, published as part of Parent's Week which begins on Monday, calls on the government to do more to make Britain more family-friendly.


This report shows that we still have a long way to go to improve things for families and parents

Mary McLeod, NFPI
It highlights big differences between Britain and the rest of Europe in terms of maternity leave pay, leave for fathers, working hours and childcare.

It says more needs to be done to reduce the length of the working week, and criticises the fact that just one in 20 employers offer a full range of family-friendly benefits, such as assistance with childcare and flexitime working.

The report says the government needs to do more about high rates of child poverty, as well as the high cost of transport and death rates from road accidents involving child pedestrians.

Mary MacLeod, chief executive of the NFPI, said a lot more has to be done to make Britain family friendly.

"Despite some good new government policies designed to support families, parents in Britain still feel left to go it alone, expected to manage raising children and working, with little allowance made for their vital family responsibilities.

"This report shows that we still have a long way to go to improve things for families and parents."

Attitudes

She added that people's attitudes needed to change.

"Many parents seem to feel that this country doesn't value them as much as it should and is generally not warm and welcoming to children.

"They talk of reluctance to accept children in restaurants and pubs and very expensive leisure and holiday costs. Most of all parents seem to feel judged.

"Being a family-friendly country is not just about what the government does or what the tax and benefits systems offers. It is about the attitudes of the people we live with and meet in our daily lives."

This is the first national Parents' Week. It runs from Monday 23 October to Monday 29 October.

It aims to highlight the important role of parents.

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