On 24 June, Lord Farmer led a Question for Short Debate in the House of Lords: "to ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reform the Child Maintenance Service".
Lord Farmer is an important and helpful campaigner who has demonstrated a genuine interest in how separated families can be helped. On 24 June 2021, members of the House of Lords discussed Child Maintenance Service reform in a debate proposed by Lord Farmer.
1,524 people responded to the short survey Lord Farmer arranged the week before. Almost half were paying fathers and 40% were mothers.
Here's a summary of the key highlights raised by Lord Farmer:
- A sustainable formula for shared care
- Reviewing unaffordable calculations
- Stress caused to the paying parent
- Interaction of Child Maintenance with Universal Credit.
- Incentives to parents to work
- Findings and recommendations of 2019 Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAS) report that have not been implemented yet including earning thresholds
- Using both parents’ income when calculating Child Maintenance - 93% of paying parents agreed; 18% of receiving parents
The Minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott's reply included and acknowledgement of a 'very good ongoing relationship with both Gingerbread and Families Need Fathers'. It is important that Ministers have a balanced view.
You can watch the entire debate on youtube below and read a transcript of the debate here.
We would like to thank all those parents who took the time to respond to Lord Farmer’s short survey. It clearly paid off!
It is really important that paying parents voices are heard and it was great that there was such a good response from everyone and Lord Farmer and other peers benefitted from a well-rounded perspective of the difficulties with the child maintenance system.
We wrote to Lord Farmer ahead of the debate and were pleased to see taht most points we raised were mentioned by him. We are glad to say that the quality of the debate and contributions was significantly better than in recent House of Commons debates.
If you are having difficulties with Child Maintenance, do share them with you Member of Parliament. The Minister told peers "I hold surgeries every quarter with MPs from the Commons, and for all MPs who have written to me personally about cases, I have dealt with each and every one." You can find contact details for your MP here. We are always interested to hear what the stories being raised with MPs and their responses so feel free to share those with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with 'CMS' in the subject heading. We will not share any identifiable details without your prermission.
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