C-MEC: Substance or Spin?
Further to my last post, the White Paper "A new system of child maintenance" can now be found here. I notice that the acronym for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is given as "C-MEC", although I don't know where the hyphen comes from.
The White Paper emphasises the "new focus" of encouraging parents to make their own arrangements - see chapter 2 - but parents who agree support/maintenance for their children were never the problem. The primary problem is those parents who refuse to pay.
As I mentioned previously the arrears of the CSA are not to be written off, but I wasn't sure who would have the job of seeking to recover those arrears. Paragraph 19 of the 'Executive Summary' makes it clear that this is to be the responsibility of C-MEC. Won't this enormous burden drag it down and tar it with the same brush as the CSA? Paragraph 44 states that: "Following legislation in 2007–08, the Government will move quickly to establish C-MEC" - this does not leave the CSA much time to make much of a dent in it's £3.5 billion arrears. If C-MEC is to be a smaller body than the CSA, how will it have the resources to recover what the CSA cannot? Much is made of the new enforcement provisions, but I hardly think that they are going to be a panacea. If the arrears don't decrease (or worse, increase), then C-MEC will soon be regarded as much as a failure as the CSA.
I hope my pessimism turns out to be misplaced, but the more I look at the proposals the more I think "government spin".