§ Mr. Betts
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what happens to interest earned on maintenance payments held by the Child Support Agency;
(2) what plans he has to (a) pass on interest earned on maintenance payments held by the Child Support Agency to the parent with care or (b) deduct it from the payments made by the parent without care responsibility;
(3) what interest rate is payable on maintenance payments held by the Child Support Agency.
§ Mr. Burt
The Child Support Agency does not receive interest from the bank in respect of clients' funds temporarily held by the agency. Instead the agency's bank charges are abated. The administrative costs of attributing amounts of interest to individuals would be disproportionate to the typically small amounts of money involved. Clients of the agency benefit from the lower bank charges and the economy of effort through the consequent reduction in the agency's administrative costs, which is reflected in the level of the fees charged.
§ Mr. Burt
We shall be making public the criteria under which payments for redress may be considered, as we do already for other agencies within the Department. As is normal practice throughout government, the precise terms of the guidance is specifically exempt from the provisions of the code of practice on Government information under exemption 7—part II, paragraph 7.10 of the guidance on interpretation—which covers Her Majesty's Treasury general guidelines on extra-statutory payments in Government accounting.