Clause 18 - Cases where there is more than one eligible person

Part of Childcare Payments Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 23 October 2014.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Exchequer Secretary 12:30, 23 October 2014

As the hon. Lady says, clause 18 deals with cases where two or more people have applied to HMRC to open a child care account for the same child. We touched on the design of the scheme under clause 15, which allows for one person to hold an active child care account for a child. However, that highlights the fact that unlike in the vast majority of cases, in which members of a couple meet the eligibility criteria, there are situations and scenarios in some households and relationships where there are disputes and disagreements. That brings complexity with family arrangements and child care provision.

When members of a couple or anyone else who shares responsibility for a child are unable to reach agreement on who should hold the child care account, HMRC will decide, and be involved in how to decide, the eligible party who will be responsible for the child care account. That decision will be based on information available at the time, and facts that can be considered will include who has responsibility for child care payments and who needs to use child care to enable them to work. That meets the whole objective of the scheme.

HMRC will publish guidance setting out the criteria that it will use to solve disputed claims. Naturally, we hope that those claims will be a small minority, but it is difficult to predict the numbers involved. In an ideal world, we would like parents to be able to reach agreements amicably, but the guidance, once it is published, will enable HMRC to liaise with parents.