Angela Crawley MP has called on the UK Government to “stop putting domestic abuse survivors at risk” and scrap the 4 per cent “tax on child support” for processing child maintenance payments.
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has introduced charges that mean a parent caring for children will be charged a 4 per cent collection fee through the “Collect and Pay” service for administrative costs.
Payments made to the “Collect-and-Pay” service are managed by the CMS, who can remove payments directly from the paying parent’s bank account and have enforcement powers to ensure maintenance is paid on time and in full.
The CMS exempt survivors of domestic violence from the £20 application fee, but do not make any exemptions from the monthly charges.
In response to a written question tabled by Angela Crawley, the UK Government said the charges are in place to encourage parents to pause and consider whether they require the “Collect-and-Pay” service – encouraging parents to utilise the less bureaucratic “Direct-Pay” scheme.
Angela has written to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, calling on her to use the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill the Government will introduce later this year to remove the 4 per cent charge.
Angela Crawley MP, the SNP’s spokesperson for Children, Women and Equalities, said:
“Survivors of domestic abuse should be protected by the UK Government, not punished financially for their inability to engage with their abusive ex-partner.
“The UK Government advises victims of domestic abuse that they should use the less safe “Direct-Pay” scheme, which has no powers of enforcement and allows continued communication through bank transfers.
“The Tories have shown a complete lack of compassion by introducing this charge and even worse, they risk putting the lives of domestic abuse victim-survivors and their children in real danger.
“The UK Government have an opportunity to remove this tax in the upcoming Domestic Abuse and Violence Bill.
“They must look again at this unfair tax and listen to the cross-party calls to scrap it – ultimately, it will be the children that child maintenance payments are intended to support who will lose out.”