Select Committee on Social Security Minutes of Evidence

Annex C

Where weekly income is greater than £200 per week and there are no other children in the non-resident's second family:

1  Child = 15 per cent

2  children = 20 per cent

3  children (or more) = 25 per cent

Where weekly income is greater than £200 per week and there are other children in the non-resident's second family, the rates are adjusted as shown in the table below:

 No. children to maintain No. children in second family Total no. children Rate (per cent) Adjustment in rate (per cent) 1 0 1 15 — 1 1 2 12.75 -2.25 1 2 3 12 -3.00 1 3 plus 4 11.25 -3.75 2 0 2 20 — 2 1 3 17 -3 2 2 4 16 -4 2 3 plus 5 15 -5 3 plus 0 3 25 — 3 plus 1 4 21.25 -3.75 3 plus 2 5 20 -5 3 plus 3 plus 6 18.75 -6.25

It is assumed that the "2nd family" is the family who resides with the non-resident family and is thus his "current family". The White Paper assumes a maximum of two families: the children who require maintenance and the children who constitute the "new family". However, it is not uncommon to have more than two families requiring maintenance.

Take the example of Mr Brown, who earns £450 per week. He has been married twice and has one child in his first marriage and two children in his second. He now lives with his girlfriend and they have a baby.

What should we do?

METHOD 1

Total the number of children who require maintenance. (3 in this example). There is one child in the "2nd family therefore 21.25 per cent of £450 = £96.00 per week. Each child would be entitled to £32 each.

The problem with this method is that the rates are determined assuming that children are "cheaper by the dozen". However, if the children live in different families then this simply doesn't fit in with the"cheaper by the dozen" theory.

METHOD 2

Calculate the maintenance for each family:

Marriage 1:  1 child being assessed, 1 child in "2nd family".

12.75 per cent of £450 = £57

Marriage 2:  2 children being assessed, 1 child in "2nd family".

17 per cent of £450 = £77.

Total maintenance payments = £57 + £77 = £134

The problem with this method is that, theoretically, child maintenance could exceed income, as no reference is made to the other family when the calculations are done. Mr Brown pays 30 per cent per his net income in child support maintenance.

METHOD 3

Add all other children to the "2nd family".

Marriage 1:  1 child being assessed, 3 children in "2nd family".

11.25 per cent of £450 = £51

Marriage 2:  2 children being assessed, 2 children in "2nd family".

16 per cent of £450 = £72.

Total maintenance payments = £51 + £72 = £123

Again, theoretically, child maintenance could exceed income. In this method Mr Brown pays 27 per cent of his net income in child support maintenance.