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So how's this for a crazy idea?

43 replies

ScroobiousPip · 25/06/2012 10:29

Thinking on the proposed HB cuts, and how yet again children (of young mothers) will get a raw deal. Especially About an article in the Indie today on young mums and their children living in hostels.

So....The CSA rates paid to RPs are pretty pitiful on the whole and, even with benefits, many RPS can't afford childcare costs so can't work. And the fact that the NRP gets a living allowance before their contribution is deducted sends a message of adults first, children second.

What if the CSA rate was put up to, say, 50% of the first 40k of the NRPs net income (or even higher if there are more than, say, 3 children) then 20% above 40k to $100k? Above that, the NRP gets to keep 100%. No living allowance, no allowance for other children living with the NRP (on the basis that their own NRP will pay the same rates so they won't be disadvantaged). Just the flat rates.

It would mean some NRPs end up financially worse off. But aren't they better placed to work hard, do overtime, move around where the work is etc, than the RP? And wouldn't it make more sense for single NRPs to be living in hostels rather than RPs with their children?

And possibly a bit contentious but I also wondered if it would make some men (on the basis that men are more often than not the NRP) think more carefully about taking responsibility for contraception in the first place?

I'm sure this is a crazy idea. Come and tell me what you think (and please be gentle if it's a totally dumb idea - i'm posting in politics, not AIBU!).

P.s.. I hope my post isn't so dumb I've profoundly insulted anyone. If so, please come educate me....

OP posts:
mumblechum1 · 25/06/2012 10:31

Sadly I think that a lot of men would give up work rather than pay those rates.

ScroobiousPip · 25/06/2012 10:44

Goodness, that's a really depressing thought - would most men seriously not work, rather than pay for their children?

What would they live on though? I thought benefits for single intentionally unemployed people were pretty limited?

OP posts:
niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 11:24

I think you are being incredibly naive and simplistic. The CSA can't even collect 15-20%, let alone more.

The old scheme used to have a much more complex formula which sometimes did take 50% of someone's net salary. The result was that the father couldn't afford to live himself, let alone have a meaningful relationship with his kids. If I remember rightly, some men were driven to suicide. They were providing for their kids then along came a ridiculous demand which they had no chance of meeting.

As mumblechum says. Already plenty of NRP's just give up work as soon as the CSA catches up with them. My friend's exP does this all the time. CSA have been chasing him for years. What's the point in potentially losing 50% when you can get more simply by going on benefits and having to pay practically nothing (£5).

What about if dad has another child with another woman? Should that new child suffer because dad is being forced to pay a prohibitive amount to his ex?

RP's already get an incredibly good deal on from the state. They also now enjoy a 100% disregard on maintenance received. So you will find quite often the RP is financially actually much better off than the NRP. They can even get up to 70% of childcare paid via tax credits and access to housing benefit.

Lastly using your logic then perhaps we should cut benefits given to resident parents, mainly women based on the fact this may make them take more responsibility with contraception?

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 11:32

Lol @ niceguy claiming rp get a good deal, especially after admitting his friend only gets £5 per week in the paragraph before.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 11:50

I never said she gets a good deal from her ex. I said she gets a good deal from the state.

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 12:00

Whats this gret deal? Chilcare paid for and shelter for the child that the nrp should be paying their fair share of in the first place?

MiniTheMinx · 25/06/2012 12:11

They also now enjoy a 100% disregard on maintenance received are you sure about this.

A few years ago DP and I split (subsequently got back together) I had to pay more rent and had virtually no help because of maintenance payments. I was lucky enough to receive quite generous maintenance for the children which was then promptly snapped up in rent, I was worse off than a friend who received no maintenance payments. The disregard relates to tax credits but HB take all sources of income into account.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 12:12

Fair is relative. What you determine is 'fair' will differ wildly from someone else.

But if you like, let's try to break the numbers down although bear in mind there is no one example which will cover everyone. But bear with me and let's for a moment assume that there's a single mum with 2 kids. And let's be modest and say her rent is £150 a week. I'm sure some places will be less, other places way more. But let's go with it for now. Let's also assume £100 a month in council tax.

So what does the RP get then?

Income Support, child tax credits, housing benefit, council tax benefit and not forgetting child benefit. Oh and of course if they are of school age, free school dinners but let's for a moment assume they're not because then it would be JSA, not IS.

If we assume a £150 rent per week then if you tot it up said RP would be getting over £18k per year in benefits (excluding CB) which is the equivalent salary of around £24k. Put another way, he/she would have to go out and earn £24k just to stand still. In reality it would have to be a lot more to make it worth working.

Now let's say her ex earns an average wage and sees the kids alternate weekends. What's the average wage now for a UK male? £30k? Let's go with £25k just to be conservative. So that's roughly £200 a month he is supposed to pay.

Add that to the benefits and we're looking at the RP having to earn over £26k to break even. That's not including the free school dinners, prescriptions, eye tests etc that they'd suddenly also have to pay for.

My point is that it's not exactly peanuts that the state gives.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 12:16

@mini. The disregard as I understand it also applies to housing benefit and has been in place since Oct 2008.

tittytittyhanghang · 25/06/2012 12:16

Yes it is crazy. 50%? And how are NRP supposed to live day to day? I actually agree with niceguy, apart from your last paragraph. I think the way it is worked out currently (15% for one child etc) seems fair.

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 12:19

The state shouldnt be funding this, the other parent who is supposed to love and care for their child should be showing their commiment to their child by paying for their needs. That is the tragic thing about it.

It should be classed as abuse and neglect if a parent willfully avoids paying for their own child if they have the means.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 12:27

"Paying for their needs"

And who defines what their needs are? Just what are they? Heating, clothing those are obvious. School trips? Books? Pocket money?

And who defines how much? Would RP be free to choose what he/she feels is appropriate and the NRP must then stump up regardless of his ability to pay?

It's a simple principle which in reality is incredibly complex.

MiniTheMinx · 25/06/2012 12:42

2008, that explains it then, before that date my children didn't need clothes on their backs! That's why then.

I'm really split on this whole issue. Ideally NRP should pay, should contribute and should still have an active role. On the other hand I can see that in cases of DV or where the NRP if male, didn't opt to have a child then there are always going to be conflicts of fairness. I also think that women are too dependant upon men and that raising children within nuclear families has become the socially dictated norm when in times past it wasn't. If parents are no longer staying together that might be because the nuclear family isn't only just breaking down on an individual basis but is in fact not a very natural state of being in the first place Confused

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 12:49

Perhaps it complex, but why should that be used as an excuse to stop the nrp meeting their full responsibilty of providing for the child?

Its appalling to not be decent enough to ensure your own child has their basic needs met.

No excuses should be excepted for not meeting the childs needs. You cant just shurk them off onto the rp.

What message are you sending to your child? That your not worth providing for.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 12:59

Justsofedup. Like I said, in principle I agree with you but the reality is far different.

Those who walk away and avoid any sort of maintenance. That's clearly unacceptable. Society should treat those shirkers like we treat drink drivers. It's just socially unacceptable and that's probably more effective than any 'law' on the issue.

But what about for most families where the NRP (dad) is paying some money? Who decides if a childs basic needs are being met? I've yet to meet a LP who thinks their ex pays enough.

It's not an excuse to say that the real world is much more complicated than simply saying a child's basic needs should be met. Of course they should be. Just like there shouldn't be starving people in the world. But clearly there is.

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 13:07

Surely there is a formula they can come up with. They set rates for everything else!

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 13:11

They have. It's 15% for 1 child, 20% for 2 and 25% for 3 or more kids.

Then deduction/allowances for nights you spend with your kids and any other dependants you have.

It's not perfect but it's a damn sight better than the old rules.

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 13:20

Is that % of income or actual costs to provide for child?

Meglet · 25/06/2012 13:20

Putting the CSA payment up to 50% of the first 40k would screw absent parents on low incomes. XP earns approx £18k, as much as it would be nice to have more money for the kids he couldn't live on £9k Confused. He's not going to be able to double his income to take account for CSA charges.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 13:29

It's %age of net income.

Like I say, it's practically impossible to base a system on the living costs for raising a child because of the sheer variation and subjectiveness of what is a genuine need.

For example would private school be a need? For most the answer would be no. But would say Heather McCartney-Mills agree? She tried to argue for first class plane tickets.

What about say clothes? We all agree clothes are essentials. But what would be a 'fair' rate for clothes? A change of clothes per month from Primark? That would meet a 'need'.

Plus if you took that train of thought then it would only be fair to apply that across all our other benefits system and pay people what it costs rather than what we can afford. It's a recipe for disaster basically.

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 13:33

It is complex and subjective but getting away with paying £5 is disgusting.

One of my mums friends ex is a multi millionaire, but hid his wealth so he could pay very little.

Im sure he felt it was some great revenge agaisnt the mother but the real person it was hurting is the child. How could look your parent in the eye, knowing they were happy to let you go without as an innocent child?

BertieBotts · 25/06/2012 13:36

When I was a single parent on IS I got around the equivalent of £16,000 per year. Sounds a lot, but it's really not in practice. TBH, even people earning less than this get their wages topped up by benefits or tax credits if they have children, so it's a moot point.

This amount is perfectly fine to live on, albeit simply, as long as you don't have any extra costs, which could be anything from debts to childcare to the costs of running a car. I only work 3 days a week and my childcare bill averages out at over £3000 per year.

When XP was paying maintenence he paid £30 per week - the equivalent of about £1,560 PA, except that he only bothered for a short time. AFAIK he was only on about £13,000 at the time, so having to pay half would have left him... well, in the shit basically. If you're actually going to split the financial responsibility both ways then the wage-top ups should be calculated as if that main wage earner is having to support a family. Except even then, you miss the biggest cost of having two parents living separately which is that there are two houses to pay for. And if a NRP wants contact with his/her children then a room in a shared house isn't really appropriate. And then what happens if they have children with more than one other parent, or if they have a new family of their own? It all gets far too complicated.

AmberLeaf · 25/06/2012 13:45

'Lol' at the great deal RPs get!

You know that the majority of LPs don't see a penny from their childs father don't you?

Successfully getting child support is not the norm.

niceguy2 · 25/06/2012 14:45

What I mean is Amber is that the state does provide a significant amount of benefits for single parents. I never ever said the same from the ex.

I'd be interested in seeing what the figures are though for NRPs paying actually maintenance. I'm not sure I agree that the majority don't see a penny. I know many don't but quite a lot do. But like I said, whether or not that is enough is very subjective.

I know quite a few single parents, some work, some don't. The overwhelming majority of them manage well enough to keep their heads above water. It's not a luxury lifestyle but managed carefully it's perfectly livable. The only one I can think of who isn't able to keep her head above water is a waste of space. She will claim one week she cannot afford food for the kids then at xmas buy laptops & playstations for them. My favourite was her claim that she couldn't afford to keep the heating on in the house for more than 3 days a week yet managed to find the money to smoke 20 fags a day.

justsofedup · 25/06/2012 14:55

Why should the state by providing?

The other parent should

Passing the buck onto the state is pathetic

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