HC Deb 03 December 1997 vol 302 c276W
Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of lone parents on income support receive child maintenance; and what is the average amount of child maintenance received(a) by all such parents and (b) by those with non-zero receipt. [18885]

Mr. Keith Bradley

At February 1997, there were 1,020,0001 lone parents receiving Income Support. Of these, 67,0001 had maintenance taken into account in their Income Support assessment. In addition, there were 300,0002 lone parents on Income Support with a full maintenance assessment using the Child Support Agency's collection service, of whom 160,000 had an assessment of more than nil.

Information on the proportion of absent parents actually paying maintenance is not separately available for these cases. But, where payments were made they were retained by the Secretary of State to offset Income Support.

Where maintenance was taken into account in the Income Support assessment, the average weekly payment was £27.761. for those lone parents on Income Support using the Agency's collection service, average child support assessments were £16.602. The average assessment excluding those where the assessment was nil was £32.302.

The receipt of regular maintenance is a key part of the Government's strategy for helping lone mothers move off income support into work. We are determined to ensure that the Child Support Agency provides an effective and efficient service in assessing and collecting the amounts of maintenance which are due.


1 Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry—February 1997.

2 Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics—February 1997.