§ Mr. Fitzpatrick
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he intends to introduce the new466W child support measures contained in the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Darling
The reform of the child support scheme is a major programme of work involving new legislation, new computer systems and significant changes to the way the Child Support Agency operates. We have always made it clear that we would not repeat the mistakes of the previous Government by introducing the reforms too quickly or before robust and reliable computer systems were in place and staff were properly trained. We therefore propose to introduce the new child support scheme for new cases by April 2002, by which time successful introduction can be achieved without unacceptable risks.
As we have always made clear, existing cases will be transferred onto the new scheme once we are sure that the new arrangements are working well. Attempting to move existing cases across too quickly would, again, present unacceptable operational risks.
The Child Support Agency is already making improvements to the service within the constraints of the current scheme and we are determined that it will continue to do so between now and 2002.