Letter: CSA warnings were ignored

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IT IS a convenient fiction, not least for the Government, that the Child Support Act had universal approval when it went through the Commons ('The palace of ineptitude', 7 November). On behalf of the Opposition, Joan Lestor said on 4 June 1991 that the Bill 'is putting the Treasury first, and children second'. She went on to point out 'the Bill will bring no improvement to the living standards of many of their children because maintenance will be deducted pound for pound from their income support'.

She pointed out that there were 'many separated or divorced women who have negotiated with their former partners, without rancour, an arrangement whereby they forego any maintenance, but are allowed to keep the family home for themselves and their children. The Bill could undermine that principle.' She also noted the problems of shared access and the dangers of 'a formal maintenance order . . . disrupting and undermining the understanding way in which the couple have dealt with separation or divorce?' Finally, she highlighted one of the main grievances arising from the Act: 'I fear we are in danger of impoverishing the second family to provide for the first.'

The problems were pointed out clearly but the Government chose not to listen.

John F Spellar MP

House of Commons

London SW1