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Child Support

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of parents with care whose entitlement to child support has been altered as a result of the 6 April 2006 changes allowing increased pension contributions to be deducted from income assessed for child support; and if he will make a statement. (188071)

No such estimate has been made. However, maintenance arrangements in force before 6 April 2006 will have changed only if the Child Support Agency has been notified of a relevant change of circumstances by either parent.

None of the organisations representing parents has raised these concerns with the agency, and the matter has not been the subject of any complaint the agency has received. Therefore very little evidence exists to suggest that non-resident parents are exploiting the current rules on pension contributions in a way which unreasonably reduces their child support liability. If such a case were to arise, the Child Support Agency is able to adjust liabilities in specified exceptional circumstances where the usual rules may not operate fairly. For example, in either child support scheme, it is possible to adjust the child support liability where the net income of the non-resident parent used in the calculation is inconsistent with their lifestyle. In such cases, this action will be considered by the agency following an application by the parent with care.