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BBC Scotland's Forbes McFall
"It's claimed that the CSA took thousands of pounds more than they should have"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 15:09 GMT
Ministers admit child support failings

Letters Pat Reilly's persistence and letter writing campaign is paying off


Ministers have admitted mistakes were made in the handling of a case of a father who paid 5,500 more than he should have to the Child Support Agency.

Patrick Reilly, from Barrhead, in East Renfrewshire, lost his house and his job when his wages were arrested and he fell into debt.

He has received 150 in compensation but ministers said the amount was now being reconsidered.

Pat Reilly Pat Reilly: Paid thousands more than he should have
Mr Reilly had been paying 40 a week in maintenance for a child from a previous marriage when the CSA contacted him.

But a series of bungles meant he ended up having his wages arrested and was forced to pay more than 7,000 to the agency. He received a rebate of 1,600.



Mr Reilly has accused the agency of incompetence and added: "The CSA lost a lot of my paperwork and when it did surface it backed up my case.

"But they continued to send me numerous amounts of mail which made no sense at all."

The case has been active for more than six years and the Eastwood Labour MP Jim Murphy has been helping Mr Reilly in his two-year battle with the agency and with ministers.

Mr Murphy sought to highlight the case in the House of Commons - alleging that the CSA was a shambles.

Mishandling concluded

An independent investigation into the case ruled that the government agency had mismanaged the case and recommended substantial compensation.

Ministers have admitted the case was badly handled and said the compensation would be reviewed.

At the beginning of last month, parents were informed that if they refused to pay child support they could face jail, fines, or even the loss of their driving licence.

The Pensions and Social Security Bill has proposed doing away with the current complicated system of calculating child support rates.

Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling said the old system - which he said had "failed children" - would be replaced with a fairer, faster and simpler one.

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  UK
Pay up or lose licence, parents told
17 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
CSA reform tops welfare bill
30 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Single mothers could face DNA tests
10 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Jailing absent parents 'may harm children'
01 Jul 99 |  UK
CSA: radical reform, but not just yet
01 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
The turbulent history of the CSA

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