§ Mr. Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what period or periods he intends to prescribe as the maximum for reductions of benefit under clause 22 of the Child Support Bill; and whether adjudication officers and social security appeal tribunals will be given unfettered discretion to decide, within the prescribed maxima, the amount and duration of such reduction.
§ Mr. Jack
Every child has a right to care from his or her parents, and the payment of child maintenance is one crucial way in which parents fulfil their responsibilities towards their children. A caring parent who is in receipt of income support, family credit or any other prescribed benefit will be required to co-operate with the Child Support Agency in obtaining maintenance for his or her children from the absent parent, unless there is good cause not to do so. Where there is no good cause, and the caring parent fails to fulfil this requirement, his or her benefit will be reduced.
The detailed operation of the arrangements for which clause 22 makes provision, and which will in due course be set out in regulations, is still under consideration.