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Child Support Agency: Fees and Charges

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what expenditure by the Child Support Agency on solicitor legal costs was in each year since 2000-01. (146169)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 17 July 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of state promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total expenditure by the Child Support Agency on solicitor legal costs is for each year since 2000-01.

The Agency’s accounting system does not report solicitor’s legal costs in a discreet expense account; as such I am unable to provide the information in the format requested.

Solicitors legal costs are grouped together with court fees and charges into a single expense account code. The total costs of solicitors and court fees in each of the last six financial years is shown in the table below.

Financial year

£ million

2006-07

2.158

2005-06

1.408

2004-05

0.896

2003-02

0.606

2002-03

0.526

2001-02

0.498

The increase in legal costs in 2006-07 is a result of the increased legal enforcement action the Agency is undertaking as part of the Operational Improvement Plan.

Information for the 2000-01 financial year is not available as this year falls outside of the legislative requirement to keep accounting records for six years.

I hope you find this answer helpful.