Lone parents told to co-operate with Child Support Agency or lose benefits

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Lone parents may be refused all benefits relating to first-time claims, unless they agree to co-operate with the Child Support Agency, under plans being considered by ministers.

And for those already on benefit who adopt an approach of "passive avoidance" and simply refuse to fill in the forms or co-operate at all with the agency, ministers may double the present benefit deduction to pounds 20 a week and make it indefinite

The ideas were bitterly attacked yesterday by the National Council for One Parent Families and the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, which told MPs on the Commons social security committee that the first idea would "reduce women with children to destitution for their unwillingness to seek maintenance".Increasing deductions would put the welfare of children "at serious risk", the association added.