Posts Tagged ‘Money’

Judge of the Week: Guess Who? (via Researching Reform)


Judge of the Week: Guess Who? It’s no secret that at Researching Reform our favourite family judge is Lady Hale for she never disappoints and this week she has done it again – she is, once more, our Judge of the Week. In her speech at the Sir Henry Hodge Memorial Lecture, Lady Hale highlighted the severe impact the proposed legal aid cuts will have on the most vulnerable members of society and equally significantly, observes that the cuts will not only alienate those who need … Read More

via Researching Reform

Child Maintenance oral evidence to Work and Pensions Committee


Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

09 June 2011

For Immediate Release: AN42 2010–12


Child Maintenance


Wednesday 15 June 2011, Grimond Room, Portcullis House at 9.45am

Maria Miller MP, Minister for Disabled People, Department for Work and Pensions

Dame Janet Paraskeva, Chair, Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Noel Shanahan, new Commissioner and CEO, Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

The Work and Pensions Committee is conducting an inquiry into the proposed reforms of the child maintenance system.

The Green Paper ‘Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility’ sets out the Government’s view that parents should be encouraged and supported to make their own arrangements for the maintenance of their children, before deciding to use the statutory maintenance scheme. The proposals include introducing charges for parents who use the statutory child maintenance service.

This is the second and final evidence session for this inquiry. The Committee will ask the Minister about the likely impact of the proposed reforms, including the impact on poorer and more vulnerable families. The Committee will also consider the availability of support services for separating parents and the proposal to close existing Child Support Agency cases.

The Terms of Reference for this inquiry can be found on the Committee’s website:

Further information

Committee membership: Dame Anne Begg MP (Chair) (Lab, Aberdeen South), Harriett Baldwin MP (Con, West Worcestershire), Andrew Bingham MP (Con, High Peak), Karen Bradley MP (Con, Staffordshire Moorlands), Alex Cunningham MP (Lab, Stockton North), Kate Green MP (Lab, Stretford and Urmston), Mr Oliver Heald MP (Con, North East Hertfordshire), Glenda Jackson MP (Lab, Hampstead and Highgate), Brandon Lewis MP, (Con, Great Yarmouth), Stephen Lloyd MP (Lib Dem, Eastbourne), Teresa Pearce MP (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead)

Specific Committee Information: 020 7219 2839

Media Information: 020 7219 0724

Committee Website:

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on

Open letter to the Work and Pensions Committee reviewing Child Maintenance


Good afternoon

I have been reading the written submissions and watching the hearings via Parliament website with interest.

The™ Charitable Organisation (#wco) provides practical information, support and assistance to Non-Resident Parents (NRP) that have lost contact with their children because the Parent with Care (PwC) has arbitrarily decided to stop access or the “authorities” are not fulfilling their duty of care to the child and for both parents.

We believe that Child Maintenance and Contact are both part of a bigger picture that should be taken into account where parents do not live together, for whatever reason.

I was pleased that Dame Anne Begg raised the issue that within her own constituency surgeries a significant number of NRP’s are forced into paying maintenance through the CSA/CMEC route but have no recourse to enforce Court Orders or contact arrangements that may be in force.  As you can appreciate, this is a major issue for NRP’s.

Looking at the submissions, I see CM02 from the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group indicates there may be problems relying on the HMRC data.  We’d like to point out that there are some simple ways to alleviate this fear:

  • place more responsibility on the tax payer to ensure their information is correct and up to date
  • effective transparency and sharing of fiscal data between central and local government, and where appropriate the banking sector
  • use HMRC as the gateway to a persons fiscal data, perhaps providing an “end of year” statement showing tax/ni collected, benefits received (including local government) etc thereby providing a “single version of the truth”
  • ensure improved collection rates of Child Maintenance (and fines) by always having this collected using the soon to be HMRC Real Time Information system

 Dr CM Davies, within CM03, provides good examples of where the current system of calculation does not take into account the circumstances of the NRP and therefore causes great hardship and distress.  In addition, an NRP needs to provide adequate accommodation to their child(ren) and the “system” needs to take this into account – including that additional bedrooms may be needed.  Adrienne Burgess made a good point that the “system” should treat NRP’s as a Family where they have 14% of residence.  This would ensure the NRP gets all the systematic support that is currently only afforded to the PWC – including lower cost social housing and other passport benefits.

Ms Burgess also made a valid point that the way maintenance calculations are performed currently precludes benefit payments, however were the parents living together their joint income would be used.  In addition, there are basic living expenses that should be taken into account, eg housing costs and travel to work etc .. without this, the NRP simply would not be able to afford to pay the maintenance imposed and therefore creates arrears that simply cannot be realistically paid.

Overall, I am pleased the issue of Child Maintenance is being reviewed although disappointed that it has taken so long.  We agree that both parents should shoulder responsibility for their children, and this includes fair access to the child(ren) and fair payment by both.

This is a complicated issue; however, I strongly believe that Child Maintenance should not have its own agency.  The payments issue should be resolved via mediation & subsequent court approval – taking into account all circumstances of both parents.  The concept of shared or co-parenting should be enshrined in law, with all the support that this should afford being mandated to be provided by the relevant agencies and bodies.

Perhaps the committee should encourage the interaction on this subject between Sir Alan Beith of the Justice Committee, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith of the Social Justice Committee, Graham Stuart of the Education Committee, Rt Hon David Cameron of the Childhood and Families Taskforce and David Norgrove of the Family Justice Review Panel.  Not forgetting to take into account the valuable work of Rt Hon Frank Field and the Review on Poverty and Life Chances.

As a final comment, where parents do not live together, the PWC should not have a significant improvement in living standards at the expense of the NRP.  Their living standards should reflect their own income bracket.  If the parents could not afford to look after a child together – they should not be having a child!

May I congratulate you on your work and wish you well in your endeavours.

Gov Written Answer – #wco Money (Work & Pensions: Child Support)


Green, Kate raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; Childcare; CMEC-CSA; Parenting

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will undertake research to establish the number of children who live in separated families for whom effective arrangements are in place.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts: Miller, Maria

More information can be seen at:

Published: 23/03/2011 12:00:00

Gov Written Answer – #wco Money (Education: Children: Separated People)


Sanders, Adrian raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; Childcare; Equality; NRP Rights; Parenting

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions he has held with the (a) Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and (b) Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential effects on levels of child poverty of the rules concerning eligibility to child and other benefits for separated parents with joint custody arrangements.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts: Teather, Sarah

More information can be seen at:

Published: 08/03/2011 12:00:00

Gov Written Answer – #wco Money (Work & Pensions: Social Fund Crisis Loans)


Webb, Steve raised an interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; Regulation

To meet genuine need, and in addition to continually recycling from the £1.3 billion fund, this Government are committed to maintaining core funding of £178 million a year for the discretionary social fund scheme over the spending review period. ….(read more) …

Comment by #wco: So the government are state “we will implement a cap of three crisis loan awards for general living expenses in a rolling 12-month period.” – So when claims are messed up by the civil servants (and I’ve had personal experience of being destitute for over 8 weeks and having to have at least 3 crisis loans as a direct result of administration errors) then claimants may suffer more distress and homelessness as Housing Allowance is not paid while there is this situation.


Other contacts:

More information can be read at:

Published: 03/03/2011 12:00:00

Gov Ministerial Statement – #wco Money (Leader of the House: Members’ Salaries)


Young, George raised an interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; Democracy; Equality; Governance

On 3 July 2008, the House of Commons passed a resolution linking future annual increases in Members’ salary to the median pay increase received by a basket of 15 public sector work force groups in the preceding year. ….

Comment by #wco: I still think certain expenditure – office rents, electricity, gas, salaries etc should be paid centrally rather than to the MP .. this way deals can be done to get better prices for utilities etc. AND we can monitor the pay rates of these essentially public servants working for the MP’s ..

Other contacts:

More information can be read at:

Published: 20/01/2011 15:00:00

Gov Written Answer – #wco Money (Work & Pensions: Disposable Income: Pay)


Meacher, Michael raised an interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; Equality

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level of median (a) pay and (b) real personal disposable income has been in each year since 1990.

Comment by #wco: Could be useful when arguing about unreasonable CMEC demands or if a NRP is living in technical or real poverty.
Remember to always ask for Discretionary Housing Benefit if you have any overnight contact with your children – the local council should support you with costs for the extra bedroom etc

Other contacts: Grayling, Chris

More information can be read at:

Published: 14/12/2010 00:00:00

Gov Written Answer – #wco Money (Treasury: Child Benefit)


Eagle, Angela raised an interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; CMEC-CSA; Equality

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the mother of a child will continue to be the primary recipient of child benefit.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts: Gauke, David

More information can be read at:

Published: 02/11/2010 00:00:00

Gov Ministerial Statement – #wco Money (Work & Pensions: Fraud & Error (Benefits System))


Duncan Smith, Iain raised an interesting point.

Subject(s): Money; CMEC-CSA; Scrutiny

I am today publishing “Tackling fraud and error in the benefit and tax credits systems” a new joint DWP and HMRC strategy. This will be followed by a wider cross-government approach to tackling fraud, error and debt collection across the rest of the public sector being led by the Minister for the Cabinet Office. This strategy contains proposals to reduce significantly the level of fraud and error in the welfare system. It contains measures to prevent fraud and error from the outset of any claim; root out and correct mistakes where they do happen; deliver tough punishments for those who defraud the system; and deter those who would try to abuse the system in future. …

Comment by #wco:
“All financial information should be shared between all relevant agencies (both central and local) to eliminate errors and inconsistencies. In addition, this would provide the basis for correct assessment of universal benefit payments in the future.

We would strongly suggest the concept of “Circumstance Payments” that would replace all current benefits. The idea of “Income Based” or “Contribution Based” should disappear, along with “Passport Benefits”. Additional help (eg free prescriptions etc) would be granted based on the total household income rather than what type of benefit received.”

Other contacts:

More information can be read at:

Published: 18/10/2010 00:00:00

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