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Child Support Bill carries threat to business

Date: 18 December 2006

A white paper published proposing new powers to chase absent parents for child support is expected to directly affect businesses.

Measures suggested include the power to confiscate passports, introduce electronic tagging, night-curfews and, crucially, possible driving bans for those who owe.

The motivation for the action outlined in the Child Support Bill is that the Child Support Agency (CSA), is failing in its role to recover monies to support families. Currently, over £3.5bn is owed by absentee parents.

Ministers hope greater powers and punishments will force more parents to pay, lifting the taxpayers' burden.

Come 2008 the CSA will be scrapped in favour by an all-new body dubbed the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, expected to benefit from the greater powers. It officially takes over the CSA's 1.4 million cases in 2013. Other suggestions include direct deductions from pay packets and a public "named and shamed" campaign.