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Hammer blow for single parents as government overturns unprecedented defeat by the Lords

02 February 2012

On 1 February, the House of Commons voted to overturn the Lords amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill which was intended to prevent single parents being charged for child maintenance services, where they have no alternative but to use the statutory system to get financial support from the other parent for their child. This is despite the fact that this amendment was overwhelmingly supported by the House of Lords, with 270 votes in favour of the amendment and just 128 against, inflicting the biggest defeat on the government since the election. 

 
During the debate DWP Minister Maria Miller announced that the government would set the upfront application fee - payable by parents with care to access the Child Support Agency - at £20 for all applicants.
 
Gingerbread’s Chief Executive Fiona Weir commented:
“The government has completely missed the point, made so eloquently and forcefully by the Lords, that it is wrong in principle to charge parents who have no other option but to turn to the CSA to get child maintenance. By ignoring the strong consensus on this issue across peers of all parties - which inflicted the biggest defeat on the government since the election - the government has shown it is out of touch with the realities of people's lives.
 
"It is a small comfort to single parents that the application fee will be set at the lower amount of £20 - but the fact that single parents will still lose up to 12% of all payments collected by the CSA and intended for their children will be a bitter pill to swallow".
 
For more information, see Gingerbread's report on the Lords defeat.

ENDS

Gingerbread press contact: Lucy Abell on 020 7428 5416 or 07881 951 138

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