CSA is failing children

January 24, 2006 9:54 AM

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter has spoken out in Parliament about the failings of the Child Support Agency (CSA) and backed comprehensive Liberal Democrat proposals to improve the system for providing financial support to children.

Mark said, "The level of correspondence i receive from local people about the CSA and its failings give all the tell-tale signs of an organisation in chaos. It's simply scandalous that so many children are not getting the financial support they need and deserve".

"The fact that the CSA only collects around £1.85 for children for each pound it spends on its own administration shows just how wasteful the current system has become."

Last week, Liberal Democrat MPs issued a comprehensive set of proposals to the House of Commons which would make the system sytem simpler, more efficient and would get the best deal for children.

Mark continued, "No one is suggesting that the CSA doesn't deal with difficult and sensitive issues but for the sake of thousands of children - and many in the Cheadle area - the system needs to be overhauled".

Ahead of a debate on the CSA secured by the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons, an analysis of CSA statistics reveals that 4 out of 5 absent parents paid no child support in the three months to October 2005.

Of the 1,449,000 cases with the CSA, only 297,000 non-resident parents (1 in 5) had made one or more payments towards the upkeep of their children in the three months to end September 2005.

The debate in Parliament challenged the Government's commitment to radical reform by pressing the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, John Hutton to agree with Prime Minister that:

• the Child Support Agency has lost the confidence of the public;

• its basic structural problem remains; and,

• it is not properly suited to carry out its task.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, David Laws MP said:

"The CSA lost the public's trust long ago. It has also lost the Prime Minister's. The CSA has been failing children for far too long and radical action is now required.

"If the Government is serious about helping parents honour their moral responsibility to maintain their own children, then they must replace the CSA with an organisation which can deliver the child support which families need.

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