§ Mr. Alan Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the annual cost of introducing a maintenance disregard for lone parents on income support and of the numbers who would gain, at a weekly disregard level of(a) £5, (b) £10, (c) £15 and (d) £20. 
§ Mr. Andrew Mitchell
It is estimated that the cost of introducing a £5 maintenance disregard for lone parents in 1997–98 would be around £60 million; the cost of a £10 disregard would be around £100 million; the cost of a £15 disregard would be around £135 million; and the cost of a £20 disregard would be around £165 million. Some 240,000 lone parents would gain.
The annual cost of a disregard and number of lone parents who gained would increase over time as the Child Support Agency's caseload increased. There would also be increases in costs and numbers if the disregard were extended to parents with care who had repartnered. The estimates apply the disregard to child support maintenance and other forms of child maintenance.