Proposals for new child maintenance scheme published by CMEC
Submissions in response to the proposals must be made by 23 February 2012
Detailed proposals for the new statutory child maintenance scheme have been published by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. They 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."
Offered as a fall-back option for parents who cannot reach agreement as to child maintenance, the new statutory child maintenance scheme will, the Government claims, be fairer, faster and less costly to the taxpayer.
- The 'Flat rate' child maintenance deductions from state benefits will be increased above the £7 rate previously announced.
- 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.
- Parents who share the care of their children exactly equally will no longer be required to pay maintenance through the statutory scheme.
- Proposed rules in relation to 'second families' will reduce the gap between financial support for children living apart from non-resident parents and those living with them.
- Tax data will be used to reduce application times. The CSA currently takes around three months to open a case.
- 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. Closing date for submissions is 23rd February 2012.