Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 3:09 pm on 4th July 2007.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander Shadow Secretary of State (Cabinet Office) and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 3:09 pm, 4th July 2007

I certainly do. I hope that that matter will be teased out in Committee. To a large extent, the underlying assumptions and the factual basis on which they are generated will determine how successful or otherwise the reforms will be.

The point about the 12-month rule has been made—particularly in the Scottish context—by my hon. Friends, who are no longer in their places. There is a concern about the rule, which means that after 12 months of a private arrangement, the people concerned will be free to opt back into the CMEC system. In some cases, that is a disincentive to private arrangements. That is especially the case in the Scottish context, where, as the Minister will know, Scots law provides for a system—not found in English law—of the registered minute of agreement, described perfectly by my hon. Friend Mr. Carmichael. There is a need to protect that, at least in Scotland, perhaps by extending the 12-month rule to a 48-month rule, for example. I hope that the Minister will be willing to consider that. Perhaps he could also consider the benefits of the Scottish system of registered minutes of agreement and whether that wisdom of Scots law could benefit people in England and Wales.