CHILD MAINTENANCE DISREGARD (No. 2)

Part of Orders of the Day — Child Support Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 22nd May 1995.

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Photo of Peter Lilley Peter Lilley Secretary of State for Social Security 5:30 pm, 22nd May 1995

Surely that is a reason for supporting the proposals which we have put forward and which are inherent in the Bill, not for increasing the level of benefit, which would encourage more people to remain on benefit and fewer to work.

One of the reasons for the trend that the hon. Member mentioned is that, over that period, whereas more married women have gone out to work, fewer women lone parents have gone out to work. The number has declined. That must be for the very incentive reasons which I spelled out earlier, and which would be exacerbated were we to accept the new clause.

For all those reasons, I believe that it is much better that we rely on maintenance credit and on the disregard in the in-work benefits, rather than on increasing the level of benefit arbitrarily for those who are receiving maintenance, thereby discouraging a return to work, costing the taxpayer money, and, not, I believe, leading to any measurable increase in compliance with the Child Support Agency.