Child Maintenance Service

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at on 13 May 2024.

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Photo of Sarah Green Sarah Green Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales)

What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service in securing funds from paying parents.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government are committed to ensuring that separated parents support their children, taking robust enforcement action against those who do not do so. Since December 2022, there has been an increase from 65% to 68% in those paying something towards maintenance through collect and pay.

Photo of Sarah Green Sarah Green Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales)

Last year, I wrote to the Department about a loophole that allows paying parents who earn non-taxable income overseas to avoid making child maintenance payments. For one of my constituents, that loophole has allowed their ex-partner not to pay any maintenance and effectively engage in financial abuse towards them. Will the Minister meet me to discuss that loophole, to ensure that paying parents are fulfilling their financial obligations to their children?

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I am obviously concerned to hear that case. We have just had a consultation on the possibility of moving from collect and pay to direct pay for all claimants, which would certainly help to put a greater focus on compliance.[Official Report, 22 May 2024; Vol. 750, c. 12WC.] (Correction) Although I am more than happy to arrange a meeting, I am not sure that one with me would be much help, because I am not in charge of child maintenance. I will ask the relevant Minister in the Lords to have a meeting with the hon. Member.