Child Support Agency: Maintenance

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 2nd July 2007.

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Photo of David Laws David Laws Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Work & Pensions 2nd July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the costs of setting a Child Support Agency maintenance disregard for those on benefits of up to (a) £10, (b) £20, (c) £30, (d) £40, (e) £50 and (f) £100 per week; and what estimate he has made of the effects on child poverty in each case.

Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions 2nd July 2007

The number of children lifted out of poverty and cost of increasing the levels of the child maintenance disregard in income support, jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit are shown in the following table.

Level of disregard Number of children lifted out of poverty Cost in extra benefit expenditure (£ million)
£20 n/a 50
£30 30,000-40,000 100
£40 40,000-50,000 140
£50 50,000-60,000 170
£100 50,000-70,000 200
n/a = Not available.

Notes:

1. Number of children lifted out of poverty is defined here as the number of children in households lifted above 60 per cent. of equivalised median household income before housing costs by increasing the level of the disregard.

2. Estimates provided are indicative and should only be used to give some idea of scale, since there is uncertainty over future distributions of earnings and maintenance receipts, and figures are sensitive to the assumptions used and drawn from a sample of data.

3. Figures for the number of children lifted out of poverty by a £20 disregard are not available due to a small sample size.

4. Poverty figures are based on analysis of 2004-05 Family Resources Survey and are rounded to the nearest 10,000.

5. Costs are calculated to the nearest £10 million and are based upon a combination of DWP administrative and survey data.

6. Figures are for the extra number of children lifted out of poverty and extra costs compared to a position where there is a £10 disregard in income support and a £25 disregard in housing benefit and council tax benefit.

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