HC Deb 15 July 1998 vol 316 c200W
Dr. Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will make a statement on the timescale for the introduction of child maintenance premium. [49992]

Mr. Keith Bradley

The child maintenance premium will be introduced as part of a wider package of reforms set out in the Green Paper "Children First—a new approach to child support" (Cm 3992). Where assessments are made under the new scheme, families on Income Support will be allowed to keep up to £10 a week of any maintenance which is paid for their children. Because of the scale of the legislative and operational change, these arrangements are unlikely to be introduced before 2001. The Green Paper invites views on the options for transferring existing cases to the new scheme.

Mr. Plaskitt

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proposals she has for reassessing arrears on payments when the proposed new formula for maintenance payments takes effect. [49744]

Mr. Keith Bradley

Non-resident parents have a responsibility to support their children, including paying for their upkeep.

We are not proposing any reassessment of arrears due under the current formula on the introduction of a new child support scheme, as proposed in the Green Paper "Children First: a new approach to child support" (Cm 3992). Non-resident parents will be expected to pay the amounts calculated under the present arrangements and appropriate collection and enforcement action will be taken if there are outstanding arrears.