What the papers say: Sighs of relief as CSA closes down

For 13 long years, the Child Support Agency stood beleaguered by constant cries of anxiety from the very people it was set up to assist.

Last week it was £3bn in debt with a backlog of 330,000 cases. There was widespread consensus over the CSA's lamentable nature:
'shambolic' said Liberal Democrat spokesperson David Laws (The Times, 10 February), 'chaotic' (Mirror, 9 February) and 'a basket case' (The Herald, 10 February) .

But few would have envied the role of Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton to read out the organisation's last rites. There was quiet applause as Hutton outlined the intention to 'redesign the whole notion of child support' (Reuters, 9 February), with an interim package to 'stabilise and improve' (Channel4.com, 9 February) the CSA in the short term.  Hutton left little doubt over the key objectives: improved productivity, enforcement and debt collection. He stated: 'There will be no hiding place for deadbeat dads' (The Scotsman, 9 February).

Opposition parties grumbled over the Government's failure to act sooner, with accusations the reform was just 'more sticking plaster and yet another review' (Laws, insidepublic.co.uk, 9 February).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk

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