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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 14:55 GMT
Bill to axe troubled CSA unveiled
A child
The CSA has been dogged by criticism
The troubled Child Support Agency is to be axed and replaced, under legislation announced in the Queen's Speech.

By July the CSA, which has been dogged with complaints throughout its 13-year history, had a backlog of 300,000 cases and debts of 3bn.

The Child Support Bill aims to replace it with a smaller body and a simpler way of collecting child maintenance.

Ministers hope it will encourage more parents to make their own arrangements, part of a more cost-effective system.

The bill ends the requirement that all lone parents with care responsibilities who claim benefits must also submit a claim to receive child maintenance, regardless of whether they already had a private arrangement.

Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton has said the government would seek more powers to deal with parents who repeatedly fail to pay maintenance - such as suspending passports and imposing curfews.

Criticism of the CSA has ranged from accusations of snooping and unfair settlements to its failure to collect millions of pounds in unpaid maintenance.


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