Blair promises urgent look at CSA problems

Tony Blair hinted that the Child Support Agency could be scrapped and split into three separate bodies yesterday.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the prime minister said that the CSA was “not properly suited” to carry out its task of ensuring parents met their obligations to their children.

He told MPs that the CSA’s role as the investigating, adjudicating and enforcement agency put it in an “extremely difficult position” and indicated that a separate body for each task would be a better option.

The latest figures show that the CSA has a backlog of 350, 000 cases and that the figure for unpaid maintenance stands at £1.7 billion.

“The truth is that the situation at the CSA is extremely difficult, and we are looking urgently at what the solutions might be. The problem is fundamental to the nature of the task that it is called upon to perform,” said Blair.

Liberal Democrats leader Charles Kennedy scoffed at Blair’s remarks arguing that the prime minister had been “looking urgently” at the agency seven years ago. He also decried the cost effectiveness of the organisation. “For every pound that the CSA spends on its own bureaucracy, it gets only £1.85 to the children whom it is supposed to be there to help,” he said.

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