- Gingerbread, along with many of our 40,000 strong membership and supporters, has been campaigning hard against the introduction of charges to use the new system since they were first announced.
- But even landslide victories in the House of Lords, which saw 270 peers vote against the government and say no to the charges, couldn’t stop the government keeping its power to charge fees to use the future new Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
- Since then, the government has consulted on the amount it intends to charge and on the way charges will be applied. It has suggested £20 as an upfront application fee, then a 7 per cent collection charge deducted from every payment made via the new CMS collection service. Non-resident parents will not be charged if they stick to a ‘Direct Pay’ arrangement, but if the collection service has to step in because they fail to pay, they will be charged an extra 20% on every payment.
But the government has still not decided finally on the amounts it intends to charge, and there are some hints that the Minister may be prepared to lower the amount of the collection charges being proposed. Moreover, parliament still has have a say on the government’s final decisions.
This means there is still time to persuade your MP that the charges that are proposed are unfair and will take much needed money away from your family at a time when every penny counts – and to ask your MP to raise the matter with the Minister in charge. Steve Webb.
However, it seems some MPs still aren't listening to their constituents concerns.
- This was her response. Dear Ms Qaude,Thank you for your reply. As a parent myself; I recognise your concerns on this issue.I understand that the reforms being made to the CSA will be rolled out gradually and the charges for using the service are yet to be introduced into the child maintenance system. Please be assured, however, that the £20 application fee that you refer to would be a one off charge, rather than a repeated fee. In the event that your case is closed and restarted, with an interim period where you may not receive any money, I am not aware of any gap that would necessarily take place when existing cases transfer to the new system.With regard to your concern about collection charges, in the vast majority of cases, every effort is made to give the non-resident parent the opportunity to pay the parent with care directly, and therefore there will be no further charges or fees levied on either parent. As you mention in your email, where this does not occur, the Child Maintenance Service will move quickly to enforce the payment of maintenance through the collection service.As you know, the collection service will levy a 20 per cent fee on the non-resident parent and 7 per cent to the parent with care. The Government believes that this would create a strong incentive for non-resident parents to pay directly to the other parent in full and on time. As child maintenance cases can last for many years, collection fees are therefore necessary to provide both parents with an ongoing financial incentive to collaborate or make payments direct.I am sorry to read of the difficulties that you have experienced gaining co-operation from your former partner in coming to a private arrangement. In cases of non-co-operation, I hope you will agree that there is a rationale for charging both the parent with care and non-resident parent for using the service, outlining the complementary measures of charging an application fee and charging a percentage of maintenance for using the collection service.The charges outlined by the Government reflect the suggestions made in Sir David Henshaw’s independent report into the re-design of the child support system, with the application fee encouraging parents to think carefully about their options before defaulting into the statutory service, while collection fees will provide an ongoing financial incentive for both parents to collaborate and agree to pay and receive maintenance direct.I hope that this information is helpful and thank you once again for taking the time to write to me.Kind regardsCarolineCaroline Dinenage MPMember of Parliament for Gosport
- i got a reply too, basically saying these charges are being put in place as they want to encorage parents to talk, yes i can talk to my ex if needs be in a civil manner but i would never see a penny as he wouldnt pay it, so need csa help to make sure he pays! he should get chrged the extra 20% but why should we pay 7% out when they are the ones that dont pay us direct as they cant! x
- Her aide made a boo boo. He forwarded it on elsewhere too and accidently sent it to me. Hi Glenn,Is there anything you could do to add/help with this case? I believe I have answered her concerns fully.Fyi, her original email is a campaign email, so I don’t buy her complaint about not addressing her ‘personal circumstances’...as they weren’t included the first time round.In other news, thank you for sending me that pr on that youth mp! As if I don’t have enough on my plate Hahahaha JKind regardsHamed KamalParliamentary Assistant to Caroline Dinenage
- These instances show us that too many people with the power to make important decisions just aren't getting the message about child maintenance - how vital it is for single parent families, how hard won payments often are and how illogical the justifications for charging are for parents whose last option it is to use the statutory system. It's unacceptable that some MPs offices aren't engaging with their constituents on this issue - and even more unacceptable that others seem willing to simply brush their concerns aside.
- We know how influential it can be when MPs get to hear directly from single parent families. When two Gingerbread members met with Vince Cable MP about the proposals to charge, he described hearing their stories as powerful examples of the impact the system will have and promised to the Minister responsible for child maintenance detailing their concerns.
- We're calling on single parents not to give up - to keep writing to their MPs, to keep asking them to stand up against the charges and to keep up the fight with us. There is still time to influence the government's final decisions on charging and show that this is an issue single parents feel passionately about.
You can email your MP direct from our website.
- But sometimes, it seems more old fashioned methods can be more effective. So why not put pen to paper and send a letter too?