To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of self-employed parents who are evading payment of child maintenance by diverting their income to their partner or spouse.
The Department has not made an estimate of the number of self-employed parents who avoid child maintenance by diverting their income through their partner or spouse. Income information for paying parents is obtained directly from HMRC. This figure will include earnings from self-employment. Where there is reason to suspect a declared income or that a parent is using self–employment as a means to avoid or reduce their maintenance liability, the case will be referred to the Financial Investigations Unit. The volume of cases which are subject to a complex earners investigation are published in Table 12 of Child Maintenance Service Statistics available on line at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-june-2018-experimental. Investigations into self-employed paying parents are a subgroup of the complex earners investigations.