A private member’s bill on child maintenance evasion has received its first reading in the House of Commons.
Heidi Allen is the Tory MP for South Cambridgeshire. She introduced the Child Maintenance Income Assessment Bill under the Ten Minute Rule Procedure. It aims to “equalise the assessment and enforcement of child maintenance arrangements of children of self-employed parents with that of children of other employed parents”.
Earlier this year the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee conducted an enquiry into the child support system in England and Wales, concluding that the Child Maintenance Service was still too tentative in its approach to the issues.
Amongst the issues discussed were non-resident parents who use their self-employed status to disguise their true earnings and thus pay less maintenance than they should, according to the Committee.
Mrs Allen led the enquiry and was inspired to draft her bill after the Committee found the government’s response to the bill lacklustre.
The MP explained:
“When parents split up, the child maintenance service can help parents work out a fair payment schedule for the child. When the split is amicable and sensible, this system works well. But if the paying parent wants to avoid paying, they can do so all too easily and all too often, by hiding behind self-employed status. By hiding their income, not only are they denying their child the financial support they deserve, they are also defrauding HMRC and often forcing the parent with care onto benefits.”
“This is a double hit to the tax payer. The country loses out on tax and instead pays out to support the receiving parent.”
The bill will now move to a second reading on 23 February.
— Heidi Allen (@heidiallen75) November 28, 2017