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Has everyone submitted their questions to Maria Miller about what the --abolition-- reform of child maintenance?

(40 Posts)
HerBeX Mon 23-May-11 21:21:15

You can do so here

PinkCarBlueCar Mon 23-May-11 22:52:53

I know there's all sorts I want to ask - Why are lone parents going to be forced to pay for the services of the CSA, both at the start and from anything paid to them? Surely it should be the deadbeats that pay, not the RP?

Will that do, or is there a better question to ask?

ChocHobNob Mon 23-May-11 22:56:49

Who should pay when an NRP has paid privately (the correct amount or more) and the PWC goes to the CSA through choice? Because obviously, not all NRPs are deadbeats. I'm sure that wasn't what you meant though wink

PiousPrat Mon 23-May-11 23:09:51

Chochobnob the proposal is geared towards making people reach their own agreements, to reduce the amount the CSA has to do and increase the chance they may actually do something properly. If the RP forces the issue when mediation is possible, they will be liable for the new fees. I assume the idea is that everyone who has an even remotely amicable split will thrash it it between them to stop the CSA taking money directly from the children in question.

I am curious as to whether the CSA will actually use the powers they already have to track down deadbeat NRPs though. They currently have the ability to liase with the Inland Revenue for example, but all too often we hear of NRPs skipping out on payments by just refusing to pay when thenpayments could be taken directly from their wages just like tax.

I am curious if the RP will still be liable to pay the fees if the CS never materialises. Obviously the CSA won't get their 'cut' of the weekly payment, but will they still enforce the initial consultation fee?

I have submitted a question asking how the CSA will ensure that RPs who have been abandoned won't be penalised by this new system, and how they will ensure that it doesn't simply encourage NRPs to avoid mediation knowing their XP has been left financially unable to chase them for the support the DC are entitled to.

blackeyedsusan Mon 23-May-11 23:14:59

does it say anything about dv cases?

PinkCarBlueCar Mon 23-May-11 23:20:53

blush indeed, Choc. I'm not that articulate on these sort of things.

I wonder if any stats exist or are even possible on the number of NRP's that willing pay against those who don't?

PiousPrat Mon 23-May-11 23:25:08

I would imagine it would be hard to compile stats on voluntary agreements as by their very nature, they are private and not documented officially. Even those agreements which are done via a solicitor aren't done with government involvement so can't officially be counted.

PinkCarBlueCar Mon 23-May-11 23:25:19

To me, it all just smacks of yet another way for the current (and doubtless subsequent) government to save a relatively very small amount of money from those who are least able to fight it.

gillya Tue 24-May-11 07:33:56

blackeyedsusan - I noticed in the consultation papers that cases with dv history would be exempt, but could not see whether they suggest it will need to be evidenced by use of a refuge, police report, arrest, charge or conviction. The problems are pretty easy to spot with this proposal considering the attrition rates (especially in rape cases) and the complex power & control issues of dv. I await a response from my email to the minister.

HerBeX Tue 24-May-11 21:34:34

In answer to the questions how many NRPs pay willingly - the answer is 2/5.

Well 2/5 pay anyway, willingly or not.

It's extremely telling that the majority - 3/5 - pay nothing and yet this is not a significant political issue.

It seems that the general view is that if you don't live with your kids, it's a marvellous concession if you financially contribute towards their upkeep. not an essential obligation.

I'm not sure if these reforms seek to change that state of affairs but I doubt if the tories are that bothered about forcing men to shoulder their financial responsiblities to their children.

PinkCarBlueCar Tue 24-May-11 21:44:09

Beatitude - where do those stats come from, please? Is that from CSA themselves?

Didyouever Tue 24-May-11 22:05:07

The stats I've read are:

2.5 million are eligible to claim CSA and 1.2 million do so.

Of the remaining 1.3 million.

1 in 10 pay through a court agreement.
3 in 10 pay through a private agreement.
6 in 10 do not make any claim at all.

I'm one of the 6 in 10 as we arranged it so neither pay the other any money.
Hence no claim.

I think we need to get the 6 out of 10 claiming if they are eligible to.

ChocHobNob Tue 24-May-11 22:05:42

I'm not sure where those figures come from, because I had looked into it in the past and from the CSA figures, it showed that NRP compliance was more like 3/5. That doesn't include any private agreements. I cannot find the link now to get the correct figures. I'd be interested to see where this 2/5 figure that is talked about, comes from too.

ChocHobNob Tue 24-May-11 22:09:26

May 2011
Number of cases where maintenance due - 861,700
Number of cases where parents were asked for money but didn't pay - 142,300
Number of cases where parents paid - 668,600

From the CSA website

Didyouever Tue 24-May-11 22:12:27

According to this 77.6% of CSA claims were being paid.

ChocHobNob Tue 24-May-11 22:14:20

Slightly more than 2/5 confused

HerBeX Tue 24-May-11 22:45:28

Those are from Gingerbread.

I think Gingerbread are more likely to be right than CSA.

CSA only deal with cases which have gone through them. Gingerbread deal with all cases.

Having said that, not sure how they collect their figures

sunshineandbooks Wed 25-May-11 12:35:44

Dear Mrs Miller,

I am appalled at the suggested changes to child support which the government are considering implementing. It is grossly unfair on the parent with care (PWC) who already shoulders the main responsibility for care and expense, and, because 92 per cent of PWCs are women, it is sexist in the extreme.

Most separating couples will try to come to an arrangement as they are separating. Unfortunately the end result is that three out of five NRPs pay no maintenance whatsoever. If anything, we need the CSA to take on more cases, not less. I was under the impression that the CSA came into being precisely to tackle this problem – non-resident parents (NRPs) who refused to pay. As far as I am aware, most PWCs who receive maintenance through the CSA are using the CSA because the NRP either refused to pay maintenance or offered to pay an unreasonably low sum. Certainly this is the case among those I know personally who use the CSA.

It will be women and children who suffer from this policy. When a relationship breaks down, the mother (as I mentioned above, 92% of PWCs are women) has to carry all the practical and emotional responsibility. She is also the one who takes day-to-day financial responsibility. She will often make sacrifices (including to her career- and therefore her earnings potential) to ensure her children do not go without. By making access to the CSA harder, this will be exacerbated, leading to more women and children living in poverty.

I am not remotely convinced that the £100 (concessionary £50) is anything other than a cruel deterrent and a money-saving exercise. £100 is a significant sum of money, especially to a lone parent. £50 for a parent on benefits is prohibitive. Even someone like me, who earns more than £20,000 will struggle with £100 because after paying all my bills and childcare I am left with the same as someone on benefits. This is the reality for most single parents (over half of whom work by the way). The CSA also has an appalling success rate, and no family in which money is an issue can afford to throw away £100 on something that may not even see any payments made as a result.

How will victims of domestic violence prove their status? If you check with Women's Aid you will realise that the vast majority of victims never report their experiences so will be unable to prove their status. Meanwhile, their abusive ex-partners will be able to get away scot-free - free to further abuse women and to free to accept no responsibility for their children.

As for taxing maintenance - it is a cynical money-making scheme that is insulting to children as it is they who will suffer from the decreased sum of money.


If the government really want to save money, they should pass legislation that encourages a culture of zero-tolerance for NRPs who pay no maintenance. The proposals currently at play simply penalise women and children and actively encourage a culture where NRPs think they can get away with paying nothing.

I am disgusted.

Yours sincerely,

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 25-May-11 13:31:10

Sunshine that is a brilliant letter, extremely well put.

PinkCarBlueCar Wed 25-May-11 19:07:40

Utterly brilliant letter. Is there anyway of emailing it to Mrs Miller?

redfairy Wed 25-May-11 23:15:44

Playing devil's advocate here perhaps...

If a fee is charged the CSA will then become accountable (which they do not appear to be now) and will be judged on their results. The paying parent will in effect become a customer an as such expect an efficient service.

I have used the CSA to collect payments from two ex- partners and wouldn't be at all happy to pay for the service I have had up til now. It took from my first two children being 9 and 12 til they were 21 and 24 to get one measly payment and my current case was quickly processed but for some unknown reason the money collected six weeks ago is still in the process of being paid to me.

I personally think that if the CSA were a business the plug would have been pulled a long time ago. Since its conception it has systematically let down our children and contributed to perpetuating child poverty. (Yes, I do realise that the parents that dont pay are the real culprits here)

I also think that charging a fee is not going to make an unreasonable parent suddenly open to the idea of mediation. Surely that's why the bulk of claims happen because the parents cannot come to an agreement?

Didyouever Thu 26-May-11 06:42:54

I'll be the devil's advocate as well.

92% of RP's are Mothers. Why is this?

When 50-50 is mentioned on here it doesn't go down very well

Young children should be with their mothers was a recent quote.

More 50-50 then there is no need for the CSA.

And I'd dispute the 3 out of 5 do not pay statistic.

bochead Thu 26-May-11 07:36:58

More children turning 18 are suing the csa for the suffering caused - and winning!!!

It'd be fantastic if the 1st thing all kids in the "no maintenance" situation did on their 18th birthday was book a legal aid appt with a solicitor regarding the csa's incompetence. At present it's only been a handful of cases BUT it would send a strong message to government if the trickle of cases became a flood. It might also change things for the next generation.

There are appalling mothers who get away with not paying too.

As I see it the resident parent can be criminally prosecuted if there is no food in the cupboards - absentee parents should be criminally prosecuted if they don't provide for the children under the neglect laws. The CSA has had powers up to and including prison for many years now - if they used them so many kids would avoid poverty.

Coupled with the comments on date rape by a senior minister and the changes to disability support for adults and kids I'm left with the opinion ths governmnt sees societies most vulnerable as "useless eaters" rather than that protecting the most vulnerable is the the benchmark of civilised society. I fully expect to see rickets etc return if they get a 2nd term.

HerBeX Thu 26-May-11 09:44:25

Didyouever, when fathers do 50% of the childcare, 50% of the social life orgainsiing and supervising such as playdates, birthday parties, etc, 50% of organising school trips, PE kits, lunch boxes etc., take part time work at the same rate mothers do, take 50% of the calls from school to collect their kids when they're sick, do 50% of cleaning up the shit the kids cause in the household, in short, have 50% of involvement in co-parenting and in making the socio-economic sacrifices that mothers make before a relationship breakdown, then hey, 50% of residence after divorce will be entirely appropriate and as you say, obliviate the need for the CSA. I'm guessing there would be far less relationship breakdown in those circs as well.

But we're nowhere near that, so the abolition of maintenance is somewhat premature. hmm

Didyouever Thu 26-May-11 11:50:16

So if they earn 100% of the income they should keep it?

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