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Proposals for new child maintenance scheme

Detailed proposals for the new statutory child maintenance scheme have been published, which include plans to increase the amount of maintenance paid by parents on state benefits and others declaring low incomes.

 

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said:

 

“The current system is failing too many children, so I am pleased that we are taking one step further today towards the introduction of a new scheme next year. I am also announcing measures to help hard-pressed single parents, too few of whom currently seek child maintenance. By increasing the payments of non-resident parents on benefits and those on lower incomes we will encourage more separated families to share financial responsibility for their children.”

 

The Government are seeking to provide better support to parents to tackle all the issues they face at separation, and make collaborative family-based arrangements.

 

Offered as a fall-back option for parents who cannot collaborate, the Government claims that the new statutory child maintenance scheme will be fairer, faster and less costly to the taxpayer. It will also be much less dependent on what non-resident parents choose to disclose about their incomes.

 

The proposals include:

  • Proposed increase in the ‘Flat rate’ child maintenance deductions from state benefits above the £7 rate previously announced - helping some of the worst-off single parent families.
  • Payments will usually be based on the non-resident parent’s latest tax-year gross income, sourced directly from HM Revenue & Customs.
  • For the first time, maintenance assessments will be reviewed annually to ensure they remain fair and accurate.
  • Online self service will enable users to see a history and schedule of their payments, make payments, view details of their cases, and view the progress of their application.

 

The proposals are contained in the document The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations 2012 – A technical consultation on the draft regulations.

 

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