25 July 2006

The Fall And Fall Of The CSA

Let's not review the spectacular waste of the CSA. The unaminous condemnation of it from all politicians today confirmed that that it is dead so there's no need to administer another kick. But I, along with the opposition spokesmen (Lib dem Laws was pretty good) am no clearer what the "massive" changes mean. John Hutton managed to give a good impression of a schoolmaster whose charges couldn't master a simple task. Call me stupid, but if anyone can explain what was in his box of tricks I'd be deeply appreciative.

One theme that appeared to recur in his statement was lifting children out of poverty. It sounds heartless but I'm afraid that this worries me deeply. A major problem with the old system was that it took an adversarial role and seemed to hammer missing fathers. There are many reasons for breakup but most absent fathers do not feel like they ought to be punished for it and have not accepted a witch-hunt style system.

I say f*** means-testing. My suggestion is a fixed charge of £50 a week per child. Transparent, simple and not punitive. Wealthier fathers can top that up privately by agreement, but keep the government out. Under the old system the liability was from the man to the woman. The new agency should pay the charge directly to the woman when she needs it as is done in other countries and the state will collect directly from the father.

My instinct is that nothing that Hutton will introduce will stem the flow of divorced and separated men out to Prague avoiding the clutches of CSA Mk 2. Expect more stress, waste and failure.

UPDATE - THE AREAS IN BOLD WERE QUOTED BY BEN ROONEY IN HIS ISSUE OF THE DAY BLOG ROUND-UP ON PAGE 2 OF THE GUARDIAN ON WEDNESDAY 26 JULY

12 comments:

Isabella Snow said...
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Isabella Snow said...
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Praguetory said...

Well as I am Prague Tory I could well have been talking about CSA (the acronym for Czech Airlines for those who don't know).
I will admit that this is on the low side of the contribution scale. However, from the (female) payroll manager at recent client to most British men, the general feeling is that the men are getting whacked by the CSA. I think that has contributed to the lack of shame from non-payers leading to terrible levels of non-compliance. By the government only enforcing this minimum, I think the morale pressure on non-payers would be much greater and that name-and-shame would make sense.

Isabella Snow said...
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Praguetory said...

I should note that 200GBP is certainly not enough to raise a child in the UK. However, single parents/non-working people can also claim a bewildering kaleidoscope of other entitlements in the UK. I put that figure out there as a strawman to be punched. Thanks for your feedback.

PS - With improved communications it's probably easier than ever for a man to impregnate and vanish.

Isabella Snow said...
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Praguetory said...

I don't do dumbed down - but how I think it translates into American is "women need to be careful that their guy won't do a runner"

Isabella Snow said...
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Praguetory said...

Sorry, I thought you were pulling my leg. I meant communicationsin a different sense. In the olden days, when people didn't stray far from their village less women were left in the lurch. These days men can appear and disappear internationally. Hence my comings and goings to and from Prague.
NB - For the record I am not leaving a pregnant maiden behind.

Isabella Snow said...
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Praguetory said...

That is a chillingly perceptive analysis.

fencer said...

At the time of the last election The Guardian was surprised to realise that its readership was no longer dominated by labour voters, thus forcing a re-think on their comment and support for all parties. Good to see that the Guardian Hacks are quoting PragueTory, see Pg 2 Guardian 26th July 2006 for an article regarding the CSA.