Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 4th July 2007.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Opposition Whip (Commons) 3:38 pm, 4th July 2007

I endorse that. It encapsulates my passionate belief that there is a place for the state, but where arrangements can be made privately, it is essential that we should encourage that and help to make it happen.

Child maintenance is obviously a critical factor in supporting child welfare, and our children deserve the best. I shall not go through the facts and figures, because they are well known and on the public record. Children are our future and we must do all that we can to ensure that they are helped, and child maintenance is pivotal in alleviating child poverty. We have already heard about various reports, and Lisa Harker's report "Delivering on child poverty" points out that 42 per cent. of children in poverty are living in lone-parent families, and that maintenance ought to play a major part in reducing child poverty. That is absolutely the case, and that is why we are looking at the matter so seriously this afternoon.

I welcome the Bill, and I hope that it will take the necessary steps to address the real problems of families under today's system. But as many hon. Members have said, the devil is in the detail and in the implementation. We support the two founding principles—to ensure that children receive a proper and fair maintenance payment, and that there is fairness for the taxpayer. I look forward to seeing how the Bill is developed in Committee, I hope making it a slightly better Bill. But at this stage, I think that it has qualified support and we look forward to future developments.