§ Dr. Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when she intends to introduce a disregard of child maintenance payments when assessing a parent with carers income support entitlement. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
The receipt of regular maintenance is a key part of this Government's strategy for helping lone mothers move off Income Support into work. We are looking closely at all aspects of the child support scheme to see where improvements can be made. We aim to bring forward proposals by the summer.
§ Mr. Davidson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) when the child maintenance bonus was introduced; how many awards have been made to date; what publicity has been provided to ensure that staff and clients were aware of this scheme; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what steps she has taken to ensure that information leaflets on the child maintenance bonus are available in Benefit Agency offices throughout the country and that staff are briefed thereon. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
The receipt of regular maintenance is a central part of the Government's strategy for helping lone parents move off income support into work. The Child Maintenance Bonus provides extra cash help towards the costs associated with starting work.
The Child Maintenance Bonus was introduced on 7 April 1997. At the end of December 1997, some 3,000 awards of the bonus has been made.
Everyone who joins the scheme receives a letter of welcome which explains how they can make a claim. Every six months the person with care of the child also receives a statement giving her an estimate of the amount the bonus would be if she returned to work at that time. Publicity for potential clients is provided through a general work incentives leaflet, the work incentives helpline and through leaflets and posters in Benefits Agency offices. All Benefits Agency offices received a supply of Child Maintenance Bonus leaflets before the scheme commenced in April 1997. Each office is responsible for ensuring that it maintains stocks of the leaflet.559W
The bonus has been publicised to Benefit Agency Staff using a variety of methods, including bulletins, articles in internal publications and the inclusion of the bonus in various Benefits Agency general information guides. In addition, there have been seminars to raise staff awareness. A Question and Answer briefing will also be issued shortly to remind staff of the scheme.