2006-01-05

Intolerance: Electronic Tagging of Fathers?

Divorced and separated fathers could be made to wear electronic tags if they fail to make maintenance payments, the government has said. The Work and Pensions Secretary Mr.John Hutton, said he was considering the tagging plan as he decides how to remedy the failings of 'The Child Support Agency' (CSA). The controversial scheme was first floated in 2004-11 in private memos written by civil servants. At the time, the government declined to back the idea, but The Work and Pensions Secretary confirmed yesterday 2006-01-03 that he is now considering it. 'We have got to make sure that they meet their financial responsibility to their kids, and if that means taking stronger powers, then we are certainly prepared to look at that,' The Work and Pensions Secretary said, warning that non-paying fathers 'will suffer an adverse consequence'. His remarks were attacked by fathers' groups and derided by opposition parties as a gimmick. Existing laws mean parents who fail to pay for their children can ultimately be jailed, or have their driving licence confiscated. However, those penalties are rarely imposed because they make it harder for parents to work and earn money for maintenance payments. Following a litany of mistakes and failures by 'The CSA', The Prime Minister Mr.Tony Blair, raised questions last month 2005-12 about its very future, saying the agency is not 'fit for its purpose'. According to the agency's own figures, more than 1_200_million_GBP of support payments remain outstanding, while the total for uncollected payments written off exceeds 1_000_million_GBP . Such is the agency's inefficiency that its payment enforcement unit costs more to run than it actually reclaims as maintenance from fathers. The Liberal Democrats have exposed many of 'The CSA's' failures and want the agency to be scrapped and its payment-collection duties given to 'HM Revenue and Customs'. Mr.David Laws, the Lib Dem welfare spokesman, rubbished The Work and Pensions Secretay's position on tagging last night. He said:
'What "The CSA" needs is not more "tinkering" with its powers, designed to court dramatic headlines, but fundamental reform to address its weaknesses.'
Mr.Matt O'Connor, the founder of the Fathers 4 Justice campaign group, pointed out that The Work and Pensions Secretary had spoken only of fathers and not mentioned mothers.
'Once again we have double standards, with one rule for dads and another for mums,' he said.
'Fathers warned: 'Pay up or face tagging',' James Kirkup, The Scotsman, 2006-01-04, We

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just the fathers and not the mothers? What planet is he on? SCRAP THE CSA and get this sorted out some other and better way!!!!

1/17/2006 03:01:00 am  

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