"Child Support should be for Children" - A proposal for reform
by Barry Pearson
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Why will most Income Support cases not yield a Treasury saving?

This is support for the assertion earlier "in most cases in future where a lone parent is forced to use the CSA because she claims Income Support, there will actually be no saving for the Treasury".

This is extrapolated from the statistics for the CSA's caseload. About half of all CSA cases (not just those on Income Support) have a minimum liability of about £5 (or even £0). A further proportion has a liability no more than £10. Less than half have a liability of more than £10.

If this same profile applies to the Income Support cases alone, then less than half of Income Support cases will exceed the £10 premium. Since about 38% of CSA cases are Income Support cases, perhaps 20% of all CSA cases will be "required" (benefit) cases with no saving to the taxpayer.

These Income Support "no saving" cases are potentially embarrassing:

1. They are associated with the poorest people - lone parents & children on Income Support, and non-resident parents who don't earn much money.
2. They represent "state intrusion" and "state compulsion" at a sensitive time in people's lives, typically soon after separation (which is when such people are poorest).
3. Some of them will involve two reluctant parents, and these are among the hardest CSA cases to administer.
4. Even if the CSA manages to gather the information and calculate the liabilities of those doubly reluctant cases, it still represents an ongoing operating cost for which the CSA will never impose a service change.
5. Such cases will distract from more needy cases.

In all of these cases, of course, either parent must be able to apply to the CSA if they want to. But the implications of forcing them to apply are far reaching and devastating.

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Page last updated: 13 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2002