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Ritchie must set out her plans for future of the Child Support Agency

13 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MLA Mickey Brady, who is member of the Assembly Social Development Committee, has said that the Minister, Margaret Ritchie, must set out her proposals for the future of the Child Support Agency without delay after a damming Public Accounts Committee Report into the agency.

Mr Brady said:

"The Child Support Agency is due to be disbanded and its activities transferred within the Department of Social Development. Legislation for this has already been introduced in Britain to implement a completely redesigned scheme, yet Margaret Ritchie has to date not outlined her plans for the future.

"This damming PAC report clearly points to leadership failures yet there is not one word from the Minister who is responsible.

"Tackling child poverty is a priority across the Executive yet millions of pounds is not being paid by non-resident parents and as a result single parents families are losing out.

"This means that single parent families may be facing real hardship with not enough money, money they are entitled to, coming in to pay the rent or mortgage or to buy food and cloths.

"The PAC has said that it is surprised that the Department does not yet have a clear idea what the proposed structural change should achieve in terms of savings or efficiencies.

"The Minister now needs to intervene directly and set out her plans for the future of the CSA without delay. People, including vulnerable children, are living with very real poverty because of the failure to get this system right." ENDS

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