Maintenance must be income because some mortgage lender will allow RP's to use it towards the affordability calculations. Yes it's rubbish when you are relying on an unreliable NRP but you can't have it both ways.
Cavort Mortgage lenders will be looking at individual cases though. It's their job to assess if erratic payments can be counted towards income or not. Council tax will use a blanket assessment of income.
I agree that it may be too much. Supermarket prices are noticeably higher and petrol is ridiculous. Lone parents are effected more because they have less choice than a couple (who have two people to potentially work/do childcare/give up the car etc). Once a lone parent has budgeted as low as they can that's it. There isn't much more you can do.
Daddelion I agree that some NRPs eventually get caught up with...but how long does it take? I'm at 4 years and counting. We all know where my ex is....he doesn't do tax returns so no info held on him at the HMRC...court systems gives chance after chance after chance...
Whilst there is 'law' in place to stop NRPs behaving in this way, the reality is if you don't want to pay maintenance and you're prepared to duck and dive, you don't pay maintenance. In the meantime, my life is assessed in such a way that my ex is actually paying? No, that's not fair. And that's why maintenance isn't taken into account for anything anymore - way too many children living in false poverty on an on/off basis for much of their childhood.