HC Deb 12 November 1990 vol 180 cc39-40W
Mr. Viggers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to seek to increase the powers currently available to courts for the recovery of arrears of maintenance for wives and children.

Mr. John Patten

The Maintenance Enforcement Bill, which was published on 8 November, will improve the collection and enforcement of maintenance in the magistrates courts, the county courts and the High Court. The Bill gives the courts power to specify the method of payment when making, varying or enforcing a maintenance order. This should help to ensure that maintenance payments are paid regularly and reduce the number of enforcement actions.

Courts will have the power to order payment by standing order direct to the maintenance creditor or make

Number of persons exempt from community charges at 1 June 1990
West Midlands Coventry Dudley Solihull Walsall Wolverhampton
Severely mentally impared 768 517 168 436 557
In hospital or home1 2,141 1,689 850 n/a 1,554
Aged 18 or 192 1,880 1,190 1,200 771 760
Other3 29 61 19 44 121

an attachment of earnings order irrespective of whether the maintenace debtor has defaulted on his payments. In addition, the Bill allows a maintenance creditor to give a standing authority to the justices' clerk, when maintenance is paid to or through a magistrates court, authorising the clerk to take enforcement action.

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