Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill — 11 Jan 2000
[Relevant documents: The Tenth Report from the Social Security Committee of Session 1998-99 on The 1999 Child Support White Paper (HC 798) and the Government's Response thereto (Cm 4536).]
Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
It gives me great comfort to know that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has not tabled an amendment to the Bill.
The Bill takes welfare reform a stage further by introducing reforms in three key areas. First, it tackles the inherited mess of child support and will help more than 1 million children who miss out on the help that they should get. Secondly, the Bill strengthens the links between the benefits that people receive and their debts to society, and provides for new action to reinforce community sentences. Thirdly, it introduces the second stage of our pension reforms, which will help more than 14 million people--the low paid, carers and others who have lost out in the past.
The Bill contains several other measures, including changes that will bring the war pensions appeals system up to date and toughen fraud inspectors' powers. They all build on reforms that have been made since the election, and promote opportunity, reduce dependency and provide greater security--in short, everything that a modern welfare state should do.
We are determined to ensure that children get the best possible start in life. We are the first Government to be committed to eradicating child poverty in a generation and to halving it in 10 years. We are determined to end the scandal of child poverty, which wrote off a whole generation of children who were born at the wrong time in the wrong place under a Tory Government. Reforming the Child Support Agency will help to achieve that.
We are also committed to making work pay, getting more than 125,000 young people off dependency and into work through the new deal and tightening the benefit system to stop abuse. The Bill takes that a step further. We are also tackling another Tory legacy--pensioner poverty--today and in future with long-term reforms to the pension system.
I want to focus on the three main reforms: child support, community punishments and pensions. However, I shall, of course, be happy to answer questions on other measure in the Bill. First I shall speak about our reforms in part I of the Bill to sort out the CSA. Our starting point is that the primary responsibility for looking after children
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lies squarely with both parents, whether they live together or apart. The Government have to ensure that, when parents live apart there is an effective system of child support in place. That is not the case at the moment. We must ensure that the child support system makes sure that children get the support to which they are entitled and on which they depend.
I beg to move, To leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:
"this House notes that the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill will make the social security system yet more complicated; regrets that the child support formula will reduce the
Question put, That the amendment be made:--
The House divided: Ayes 180, Noes 340.
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