§ Mr. Robert McCartney
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consideration is given in the rules relating to the Child Support Agency to pre-existing debts owned by the absent parent; what assessment he has made as to whether the regulations are leading to bankruptcies; and what evidence he has as to the relationship between claims for incapacity benefit and the agency's financial demands. 
§ Mr. Moss
At present no allowance is made for pre-existing debts in the child support maintenance formula. Such debts will, however, be considered under the proposed departure system, which it is anticipated will come into force towards the end of 1996.
While we have undertaken no formal evaluation, there is no indication that child support regulations have led to bankruptcies; nor is there any evidence of a relationship between claims for incapacity benefits and the requirements to pay child support maintenance.