21 October 2006
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent

NEARLY £2billion owed by deadbeat dads may never be collected by the Child Support Agency, it was revealed yesterday.

Ministers are due to announce within weeks their plans for a body to replace the disastrous CSA. And they are expected to recommend writing off as much as £1.9 billion in unpaid maintenance where there is considered “limited prospects of recovery”.

Officials have told Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton it would be more expensive to pursue the cash than to just give up on ever retrieving it.

Details on what to do with the Agency’s 3.6 billion debt will be outlined in the White Paper on the CSA, expected next month.

Officials claim no decision has been made and the money is still being hunted. This summer, £300 million-worth of debt was handed over to bailiffs to chase and the response rate is said to be good.

Of the £1.9 billion which is considered “probably uncollectable”, most is owed by parents – the vast majority fathers – who have moved house to avoid detection. The CSA has had a disastrous history since its introduction by the Tories in 1993 with the system failing to deliver cash to thousands of single mums.



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