Children: Support

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be affected by the proposal in the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill, if enacted, to raise the minimum payment for benefit recipients from £5 to £7.

Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

It is our firm belief that it is important that parents support their children even when they have a comparatively small income.

The proposed increase in the flat-rate to £7 recognises the fact that the current flat-rate of £5 has not been increased since it was approved by Parliament in 2000. The increase to £7 is justified by the actual and expected increase in prices and benefits between that time and 2010-11, when it is anticipated that the proposed scheme will be introduced.

It is not possible to estimate the number of people who will be affected by increasing the £5 flat-rate to £7. This is because we know that the composition of the caseload is likely to change as we start to allow parents to make their own arrangements for child maintenance. Although we expect the size of the caseload to drop, at this time there is no way of knowing, precisely, which cases will remain and which will leave. It is therefore not possible to determine with any certainty the actual composition of the Commission's caseload at the time when existing cases will become subject to the new calculation rules.

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