[box type=”info”] There has been an update to the proposed changes to the CSA, basically they are going ahead. To find out more try the interactive post on Gingerbread. [/box]
Letters are being sent out to single parents in Britain telling them about the changes.
Talking about the csa is never a fun conversation piece and especially now it’s causing a storm with new change proposals. Over at 2starsandaswirl there is a post about her campaign to stop the proposed changes. Please do stop by and support her.
So what’s the new csa changes proposed?
Basically the government wants more parents to take responsibility for negotiating their own child maintenance arrangements. They are proposing to phase out the CSA in 2012 and create a new system run by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission ( CMEC). This will of course be good news for some but there is also aspects of it that aren’t so good for others, particularly single parent families.
For starters there will be an upfront fee of £100 to use the CMEC service. There would also be an ongoing charge for collecting money. This would be between 7% and 12% of the maintenance. If you’re on benefits the start up cost would be halved and the rest payable in instalments. So as I read it if you’re struggling to get money from the absent parent you will have to pay the CMEC to help. Isn’t that hitting the people struggling even more?
The other thing they want to introduce is charging the non-resident parent between 15 and 20% of the maintenance they pay. This is on top of the maintenance figure they would pay each month. If the non-resident has arranged to pay the parent with care directly then they don’t have to pay the % charge.
Confused? Here’s an example.
Mr and Mrs Smith have divorced and baby smith lives with Mrs Smith. Mr Smith doesn’t want to pay maintenance so Mrs Smith goes to the CMEC to get a calculation. (That’s £25 spent)
CMEC say that Mr Smith should pay £10 a week. Brilliant, but Mr Smith refuses to pay so Mrs Smith has to chase the £10 a week via CMEC but first she has to pay a £100 application fee. (£125 so far in fees)
Mr Smith is still being allusive so Mrs Smith uses CMEC’s collection service. Although they collect £10 Mrs Smith will only receive £8.80, the rest is fees.
Over the first year Mrs Smith only receives £332.60 for baby smith even though 52 x £10 is £520. Over at Mr Smith’s house his payment to CMEC is £12 a week. £10 for baby smith and £2 in fees.
I can see what they are trying to achieve as Mr Smith is likeier to not want to pay the extra fees and Mr and Mrs Smith work it all out between them, except one problem. Not everyone who divorces/separates can sit down and talk about it sensibly. If that was the case there wouldn’t have been the birth of CSA in the first place. It also hits the lower income families the most where every penny counts. So what happens when the low income families don’t have the spare cash to pay for the service?
Want to know more then head over to Gingerbread.
Personally I have contacted my local MP and I will be sending him a link to this page. We wait to see if he pops by and I will keep you posted.
[box] My MP has replied to my email, I asked if this was right and here is what he said.
“As I understand it, you are basically right. Under the proposed new system, parents will be able to get initial help and information on the range of options available to them free of charge. They can then decide whether to make their own arrangements, using the help they have received or to use the statutory service for which there will be a charge. There is a consultation at the moment which finishes on 7 April 2011. More information can be found at http://dwp.gov.uk/policy/child-maintenance/. It would be well worth you bringing the consultation to people’s attention so they can respond.”
So there you go, one consultation brought to your notice.[/box]