HC Deb 06 July 1998 vol 315 cc722-3
3. Mr. Bob Blizzard (Waveney)

When she expects to announce her proposals for changes to the Child Support Agency. [47470]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (Mr. Keith Bradley)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security will be making a statement within the hour.

Mr. Blizzard

I thank my hon. Friend for that most surprising answer. I am sure that all hon. Members are hoping that the new system that my right hon. Friend is about to unveil will be fair to the child and to both parents, and will work administratively. As a valedictory to the present system—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I hope so. Does my hon. Friend agree that the current system has lost all credibility as a result of its record of inaccuracy, delay and failure to communicate? That system has been a nightmare for the many people caught up in it. In view of that fact, does not the new system deserve a new name?

Mr. Bradley

It would clearly be totally inappropriate for me to give details at this stage of the proposed changes. However, I agree entirely with my hon. Friend that the Child Support Agency has experienced problems and that its staff have had difficulties dealing with the system that Parliament put in place. It is appropriate to put on record that the staff have worked extremely hard to make the system work as efficiently as possible against a background of legislation that is almost impossible to understand. I am confident that the statement that will be made later this afternoon will address many of the problems that my hon. Friend has identified.

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