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Child Maintenance

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average cost per case and (b) total cost was of enforcement action used by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission by means of (i) deduction from earnings orders, (ii) deduction orders, (iii) liability orders, (iv) distress actions, (v) charging for payments orders (Scotland), (vi) charging orders (England and Wales), (vii) orders for sale (England and Wales), (viii) bill of inhibition (Scotland), (ix) committal and (x) recovery from a deceased's estate in the last 12 months.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Noel Shanahan

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average cost per case and (b) total amount spent was of enforcement action used by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission by means of (i) deduction from earnings orders (ii) deduction orders (iii) liability orders (iv) distress actions (v) charging for payments orders (Scotland) (vi) charging orders (England and Wales) (vii) orders for sale (England and Wales) (viii) bill of inhibition (Scotland) (ix) committal and (x) recovery from a deceased's estate in the last 12 months.

The average cost per case handled by the Commission's legal enforcement teams in the financial year to 31 March 2011 was £1,539. The total expenditure was £62,740,826. It is not possible to break this down over the requested categories, since costs are assigned to cost centres and cost types rather than specific activities. However it is possible, as shown in the table below, to provide this cost broken down by work area.

Enforcement action Cost (£)
Internal costs (People/premises, IT, etc.) 54,320,225
Bailiffs England and Wales 656,428 -
Legal costs England and Wales 3,065,330
Tracing costs (HMRC) 1,864,433
Debt collection agencies 1,219,691
Legal costs Scotland 1,614,718
Total 62,740,826

A further breakdown of the Commission enforcement activity can be found on page 24 of the Commission's Quarterly Summary of Statistics (QSS). The latest version of the QSS is available in the House of Commons library or online at:

http://www.childmaintenance.org/en/publications/stats0311.html

I hope you find this answer helpful.

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