Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Before the Child Support Agency

Tony Hatfield's Retired Ramblings remind us of how the Conservatives promoted the Child Support Agency. The white paper Children Come First (Cmnd. 1264), published in October 1990, noted in point 2 of its summary:
The present system of maintenance is unnecessarily fragmented, uncertain in its results, slow and ineffective. It is based largely on discretion. The system is operated through the High and County Courts, the Magistrates’ Courts and the offices of the Department of Social Security. The cumulative effect is uncertainty and inconsistent decisions about how much maintenance should be paid. In a great many instances, the maintenance awarded is not paid or the payments fall into arrears and take weeks to re-establish. Only 30% of lone mothers and 3% of lone fathers receive regular maintenance for their children. More than 750,000 lone parents depend on income support. Many lone mothers want to go to work but do not feel able to do so.
As Tony says, compared with the CSA the courts worked wonders.

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