Better-off couples more likely to marry according to official figures

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that those with more money are far more likely to get married.

The statistics came to light following a Freedom of Information request from Fraser Nelson, the editor of The Spectator magazine.

In a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, which focused on inequality in the UK, Mr Nelson said that wealthier couples are 50 per cent more likely to tie the knot than those with less money.

Christian Guy, the director of the Centre for Social Justice, warned that marriage could become “a preserve of the better off” if current trends continue.

The spiralling cost of wedding ceremonies and the fact that people were often better off financially if they lived alone are contributing to the division – which barely existed a generation ago.

The number of family breakdowns among the poorest million people is also on the rise, in part because fewer couples are choosing to get married to begin with.

The ONS data shows that over the past ten years, one in ten married parents separated before their child turns five. For unmarried couples, there was a far higher rate of separations – with a third of relationships breaking down over the same time frame.

The Government has previously signalled its commitment to the institution by announcing a tax break for those who are married or in a civil partnership.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that four million couples would benefit from the policy, which is set to be introduced next year.