HC Deb 13 May 1998 vol 312 cc417-8

Lords amendment: No. 45, in page 27, line 5, at end insert ("against the refusal")

Mr. Keith Bradley

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 46 to 51, 102, 120, 122, 124, 129, 130, 133, 134, 136, 137, 142, 144 and 175.

Mr. Bradley

Amendments Nos. 45 to 51 and 120 make minor changes to the provisions for child support appeals in clause 42 and schedule 6.

Amendments Nos. 102, 122, 129, 130, 133, 134, 136, 137, 142 and 144 clarify the appeals process for decisions on child support that are not directly part of the formula assessment. Amendments Nos. 124 and 175 allow for regulations to provide further appeal rights if they prove necessary.

When a tribunal considers a departure application, the discretionary nature of the decision means that a slightly different procedure is followed from the one for other appeals. Amendments Nos. 133 and 136 insert a provision that ensures that the same procedures are followed for departure appeals as at present.

In addition, amendments Nos. 133, 136 and 102 clarify the rules for appeals against reduced benefit directions. The Bill gives two rights of appeal against the benefit penalty imposed when a lone mother refuses to co-operate with the Child Support Agency without good cause. The amendments remove that dual provision, but ensure that parents with care can still appeal against the decision to impose a reduced benefit direction, based on the application of child support law to their case.

Amendments Nos. 122, 129, 130, 134, 137, 142 and 144 deal with appeals against the contribution to maintenance paid by some non-resident fathers who claim benefit. The Bill contains no right to appeal against such decisions, and the amendments correct that omission.

I commend the amendments to the House.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 46 to 58 agreed to.

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