Simple System versus Targeted System - DEBATE

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John Ward

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
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In my post "A chance to debate the future" I suggested that this newsgroup
should debate some of the topics that Harriet Harman and others were
considering as part of CSA reform.

This current post provides the chance of debating "Simple System versus
Targeted System" - see below.

----------
TOPIC:

(Replies to questions to the Secretary of State for Social Security, from
Hansard, 23
Mar 1998). The Secretary of State for Social Security and Minister for
Women (Ms Harriet Harman):
(SNIP)

I invite the House to consider three further points. We face some difficult
choices in the necessary reform of child support.

(SNIP)

Secondly, what is the right balance between a clear, simple and
straightforward system and a complex system that deals very closely with
individual needs?

(SNIP)

----------
MY STARTER FOR TEN:

The complexity of CSA assessment arises partly from an attempt to target
the money. Parts of the complexity results from attempts to close loopholes
and stop unneedy people receiving benefit. Other parts of the complexity
arise from an attempt to pay money to special needy cases (or avoid
collecting from needy cases) who would not receive money under a blanket
payment.

If CSA assessment were replaced by a much simpler scheme, with the same
total money available, I would expect that many needy people would be worse
off, and many unneedy people would be better off.

Maintenance based purely on a proportion of income ignores circumstance. A
person with new (post-separation) dependents may be worse off than a person
with no new dependents. An AP with a working, even highly-paid, PWC may
have the same maintenance assessment as an AP with a destitute PWC.

The scheme should not be too simple. (Unless APs make assessment and
collection so hard that there is no choice - in that case, the APs
themselves suffer the consequences).

----------

John Ward


John Ward

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Mar 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/28/98
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(There is a danger that I'll debate this violently with myself and lose.
But here goes).

I've tried to get inside the mind of "the Government", to see what sort of
assessment principle may match Government thinking. Let's assume a PWC with
1 child.

The Government appears to feel that it is OK for the PWC to be at home
until the child enters school. (Unlike Wisconsin, where the PWC has to get
off benefits at 12 weeks!). But once the child has reached about 5, New
Deal comes into play. The Government doesn't think it is satisfactory for
the PWC to stay on benefits until the child leaves school - I have seen
statements to that effect from ministers. (It isn't compulsory yet, but how
long will that last?)

So until the child is 5, the AP may be expected to pay not just for the
child's living, but also for the carer (the PWC).

However, once the child is 5, the PWC will be expected to get to work. With
the WFTC being introduced in October 1999, the PWC will get fairly generous
child care credit.

IF (and I can't predict) the Government chooses not to recover the child
care cost of the WFTC from the AP, then once the child is 5 there are 2
parents to pay for the child, and the PWC is getting (70% of) child care so
the AP shouldn't see (all) this cost any more.

So it makes sense for the AP to have to pay quite a lot until the children
have entered school - full cost for the children plus carer. But once they
have entered school, the child care cost may disappear, and the maintenance
gets split equally between AP and PWC.

Perhaps APs should propose that different rules should apply if there are
pre-school children from the case where there are no pre-school children.
This gets round the "funding the PWC for life" complaint.

If this matches Government thinking, pressing for this may be like pushing
at an open door.


John Ward


Charles Atkinson

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Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
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In article <01bd5a95$753e8360$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
<john...@iclweb.com> writes

>So it makes sense for the AP to have to pay quite a lot until the children
>have entered school - full cost for the children plus carer. But once they
>have entered school, the child care cost may disappear, and the maintenance
>gets split equally between AP and PWC.

Your argument is clear but ignores the fact that school children need
looking after in the school holidays. It also ignores the fact that
live-in parents of school children may have to arrange care or collect
them either side of the school day.

Those either an expense or something to make finding work much harder --
althought the WFTC will help

--
Charles Atkinson cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk +44 (0)1453 834134
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

A45 flyer

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Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
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>From: Charles Atkinson

><john...@iclweb.com> writes
>>So it makes sense for the AP to have to pay quite a lot until the children
>>have entered school - full cost for the children plus carer. But once they
>>have entered school, the child care cost may disappear, and the maintenance
>>gets split equally between AP and PWC.
>
>Your argument is clear but ignores the fact that school children need
>looking after in the school holidays. It also ignores the fact that
>live-in parents of school children may have to arrange care or collect
>them either side of the school day.
>

>Those [are] either an expense or something to make finding work much harder

Absolutely spot-on. IMHO children are not mature enough to be left to make
their own way home to an empty house until at least 14 or so. And long school
holidays don't bear thinking about. Not all PWC can find work as teachers and
dinner-ladies.

Brian L

Minshall S

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Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
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Simple or targeted is difficult.
One of the biggest problems I have seen with debates in this news group and in
general about the csa is that no 2 cases appear to be the same. Lots of people
have come up with suggestions that they believe are ok because it suits there
particular case. The csa naturally makes people very inwardly focused. The
question of what is actually 'fair' then becomes very dificult to answer.

One person will state that because he looks after his children x-times a week
he should pay less. Then I will argue that I have no rights of contact with my
daughter only a duty to maintain, why should I have to pay extra when I have no
choice in the matter of where she lives.

This is just an example as there are many conflicting opinions. This problem
would therefore suggest a more complex system taking in to account what the
full parental situation is rather than discriminating against people who don't
fit into a particular AP type.

To counter my own arguement my biggest objection with the csa is the massive
invasion of privacy and the disection of my financial affairs. Every finacial
decision I make from pension contributions, to where I live, to how many hours
over time I can work in a particular period, wether or not I have lodgers etc.
etc. has to be thought out with regard to its implications to the csa. This
would therefore suggest a simpler method.

My personal conclusion is that there should be a simple percentage that is
reasonable on basic wages. I object to paying extra for every hour of over time
that I do and extra because I do unsociable shift work. For people that are
salaried it should be in proportion to what they get paid for a standard say
35-40 hour week. The actual percentage is the dificult one to get right. It
could be done as a top up on tax rates that are already established. IE
0-personal tax allowance= small percentage then a higher added to the next tax
band up to a sensible capping. The percentage amount could then easily be
reviewed at the budget, for example and corrected if deamed to high/low. The
main problem that the gov. would have with this is that they would have to drop
the bullshit about this being child support and if its tax call it tax.
There does need to be prior warning so that people can plan for what will
hapen.

But then again this just happens to suit my own personal situation:-(

Steve M
.

Ian Clark

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Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
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On 30 Mar 1998 11:56:43 GMT, mins...@aol.com (Minshall S) wrote:

>Simple or targeted is difficult.

Agreed.

>One of the biggest problems I have seen with debates in this news group and in
>general about the csa is that no 2 cases appear to be the same. Lots of people
>have come up with suggestions that they believe are ok because it suits there
>particular case. The csa naturally makes people very inwardly focused. The
>question of what is actually 'fair' then becomes very dificult to answer.
>

You certainly have a point but I would suggest that many of the
posters to this newsgroup seem to have given a lot of thought to their
opinions and the replies have been reasonably fair. Human nature and
lack of knowledge of other peoples circumstances and the effects of
other people mean that there will inevitably be a bias towards your
own situation.

But I take your point :-)

>One person will state that because he looks after his children x-times a week
>he should pay less.

Sounds reasonable to me. Speaking for myself, if it is decreed that I
should pay £240/month and I offer to have my daughter for, say, 3 days
a week then split the cost accordingly. See another posting on mine
for more detail on this.

>Then I will argue that I have no rights of contact with my
>daughter only a duty to maintain, why should I have to pay extra when I have no
>choice in the matter of where she lives.
>

Noth sure whether you are debating for or against the original poster
here :-)
I understand you have no rights of contact; as an unmarried, seperated
father myself I have no legal rights either. But I will always
maintain that if I am to have a financial responsibility then I should
have more contact with my daughter. No question.

And I would agree with your last question. Indeed, why should you pay
extra when you have no rights to determine your contact status.

>This is just an example as there are many conflicting opinions. This problem
>would therefore suggest a more complex system taking in to account what the
>full parental situation is rather than discriminating against people who don't
>fit into a particular AP type.
>

It could be complex certainly, but it could be greatly simplified if
there were more shared access.

>To counter my own arguement my biggest objection with the csa is the massive
>invasion of privacy and the disection of my financial affairs. Every finacial
>decision I make from pension contributions, to where I live, to how many hours
>over time I can work in a particular period, wether or not I have lodgers etc.
>etc. has to be thought out with regard to its implications to the csa. This
>would therefore suggest a simpler method.
>

Once again, it's difficult to see an easy way around this. How else
are the CSA, or any replacement, able to determine what our
contribution should be unless they know our income levels.

However they find out this information and whatever the level of
detail, I do feel the amounts are too much. And like I said, I would
like to see more opportunity of have shared access so that I can have
the chance to spend the money on my daughter the way I would like and
at the same time it would save the state money too.

[snip]

I would like to see my ex's new partners earnings taken into
consideration. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but if my ex
co-habited with a man who was earning a good salary, certainly enough
to pay towards my ex and my daughter, then I shouls pay less
maintenance since they are living together as a family unit and should
be treated as such when considering financial commitments and also if
I am denied the chance of shared access I am paying full whack for my
childs upkeep while another man enjoys the more parental control.

I hope I have put this across ok. It's the afternoon on a Monday and
it has been a long day so far :-)

Cheers, Ian.

Tedious 'office speak' part 3: "Let's go scuba in the think tank."

Pat Winstanley

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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In article <351fafc4...@news.demon.co.uk>, Ian Clark <ian@tubeway-
army.demon.co.uk> writes

>I would like to see my ex's new partners earnings taken into
>consideration. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but if my ex
>co-habited with a man who was earning a good salary, certainly enough
>to pay towards my ex and my daughter, then I shouls pay less
>maintenance since they are living together as a family unit and should
>be treated as such when considering financial commitments

Yes and no. Perhaps the closest thing to fairness there is to assume
that because two adults are sharing the home the personal living costs
of the adults (each) will go down. It is unfair to as that the new
partner contribute financially towards the 'keep' of the child.
Similarly if the new partner brings children of their own, your 'ex'
shouldn't have to contribute towards their 'keep', and nor should you.

So say the cost of generally running the house (rent/mortgage/rates/wate
r/basic-gas/basic-electric) were £100 per week, which is basically down
to the adult(s) living there to cover one way or another. If you were
contributing the whole of that £100 and a new partner moved in, then
that new partner should be assumed to now be covering £50 of that (think
of it as their rent and income for your ex), so the original adult's
general house running costs would now be only £50, whether sourced from
their own income, benefits, CS or their new partner. But the new partner
shouldn't pay towards your child, unless they wish to do so, of course.
Similarly you shouldn't have to pay towards the new partner's children,
whether those children live there or not.

Another point to make is that a lone parent who has been unable to earn
due to childcare costs *might* have the opportunity to do so if a new
partner moves in (built-in babysitter). Though again the new partner
shouldn't be made to 'babysit' children that aren't theirs. However a
lot of parents who generally are "stay at home" can manage a twilight or
weekend shift on a part-time basis if they have another adult resident.
And presumably it would be to the whole new family's benefit for that to
happen if the new partner is working full-time, as the new partner's
earnings will probably lift the household off benefits altogether anyway
and free the lone parent from the poverty trap of not being able to
afford to work.

The real problems are when the ex and the new partner have new children
together... that is difficult to be fair about. It's not fair for the
original (net CS paying) partner to be financially affected at all by
that (they had no choice in the matter at all), but then neither is it
fair that the new partner should have to cop the lot! And if the new
baby was a genuine accident... and is the new baby to be treated
differently from their half siblings within the family unit, Or the two
sets of step children if that's the situation?

> and also if
>I am denied the chance of shared access I am paying full whack for my
>childs upkeep while another man enjoys the more parental control.

... and the hassles of being a parent too! ;-))

--
Pat Winstanley
http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk

Ian Clark

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 12:32:17 +0100, Pat Winstanley
<pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <351fafc4...@news.demon.co.uk>, Ian Clark <ian@tubeway-
>army.demon.co.uk> writes
>>I would like to see my ex's new partners earnings taken into
>>consideration.

[snip]

>Similarly if the new partner brings children of their own, your 'ex'
>shouldn't have to contribute towards their 'keep', and nor should you.
>

I disagree. If my ex co-habits with a new partner and he brings with
him children of his own into the household, then my ex should
contribute to their upkeep. She has agreed to take on a family and all
the financial responsibilities that entails. What do you think she is
going to say to her ex..."sorry, but they're your kids and I am not
prepared to contribute"...what a great way to harness a loving
relationship :)

>So say the cost of generally running the house (rent/mortgage/rates/wate
>r/basic-gas/basic-electric) were £100 per week, which is basically down
>to the adult(s) living there to cover one way or another. If you were
>contributing the whole of that £100 and a new partner moved in, then
>that new partner should be assumed to now be covering £50 of that (think
>of it as their rent and income for your ex), so the original adult's
>general house running costs would now be only £50, whether sourced from
>their own income, benefits, CS or their new partner. But the new partner
>shouldn't pay towards your child, unless they wish to do so, of course.
>Similarly you shouldn't have to pay towards the new partner's children,
>whether those children live there or not.
>

Sorry Pat, but I'm not sure what your driving at here.

All these facts and figures are all very well but what I am suggesting
is simply this:
Provided my ex is living alone with my daughter I will contribute my
full assessment to her for the care of my daughter. Any time spent
with me should see my assessment reduced proportionately, even if it
is for one day or night. If my ex then begins living with a new
partner as a family unit, his contribution to the household should be
taken into account. He is hardly likely to withhold finances from my
ex because my child is not his..what way is that to run household.
If a new partners salary is not to be considered then why is it when
absent parents are being assessed they are asked for details of the
new partners earnings? Why should it be relevant if the child is not
theirs either?

[snip]

>The real problems are when the ex and the new partner have new children
>together... that is difficult to be fair about. It's not fair for the
>original (net CS paying) partner to be financially affected at all by
>that (they had no choice in the matter at all), but then neither is it
>fair that the new partner should have to cop the lot! And if the new
>baby was a genuine accident... and is the new baby to be treated
>differently from their half siblings within the family unit, Or the two
>sets of step children if that's the situation?
>

You make a very good point here and is one that I had not considered.
I can see that if my ex takes on a new partner and they at some later
stage have children of their own then the financial burden becomes
greater for them also.

Good point...well made :-)

Something to consider though, and I've already mentioned it above. If
I, as an absent parent, have to declare the earnings of my partner to
ensure I don't suffer financially when the assessment is made, then
why is there not a greater emphasis on my ex's new partner's earnings
to ensure that if they have kids they are not affected either?

Phew...managed to return Pat's volley of a point with a rasping
backhand of my own......will it come back? :-)

>> and also if
>>I am denied the chance of shared access I am paying full whack for my
>>childs upkeep while another man enjoys the more parental control.
>
>... and the hassles of being a parent too! ;-))
>

I can't deny there would be hassles...but to have shared access would
make me a very happy man :-)

Thank you for the reply Pat.

Pat Winstanley

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

In article <3520f41e....@news.demon.co.uk>, Ian Clark
<i...@tubeway-army.demon.co.uk> writes

>On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 12:32:17 +0100, Pat Winstanley
><pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>In article <351fafc4...@news.demon.co.uk>, Ian Clark <ian@tubeway-
>>army.demon.co.uk> writes
>>>I would like to see my ex's new partners earnings taken into
>>>consideration.
>
>[snip]
>
>>Similarly if the new partner brings children of their own, your 'ex'
>>shouldn't have to contribute towards their 'keep', and nor should you.
>>
>
>I disagree. If my ex co-habits with a new partner and he brings with
>him children of his own into the household, then my ex should
>contribute to their upkeep. She has agreed to take on a family and all
>the financial responsibilities that entails. What do you think she is
>going to say to her ex..."sorry, but they're your kids and I am not
>prepared to contribute"...what a great way to harness a loving
>relationship :)
>

So you should have to contribute towards the kids of your new lady, even
if their bio daddy is a millionaire?

And if you do, should that reduce the amount you pay to support your own
kids?


>>So say the cost of generally running the house (rent/mortgage/rates/wate
>>r/basic-gas/basic-electric) were £100 per week, which is basically down
>>to the adult(s) living there to cover one way or another. If you were
>>contributing the whole of that £100 and a new partner moved in, then
>>that new partner should be assumed to now be covering £50 of that (think
>>of it as their rent and income for your ex), so the original adult's
>>general house running costs would now be only £50, whether sourced from
>>their own income, benefits, CS or their new partner. But the new partner
>>shouldn't pay towards your child, unless they wish to do so, of course.
>>Similarly you shouldn't have to pay towards the new partner's children,
>>whether those children live there or not.
>>
>
>Sorry Pat, but I'm not sure what your driving at here.
>
>All these facts and figures are all very well but what I am suggesting
>is simply this:
>Provided my ex is living alone with my daughter I will contribute my
>full assessment to her for the care of my daughter. Any time spent
>with me should see my assessment reduced proportionately, even if it
>is for one day or night. If my ex then begins living with a new
>partner as a family unit, his contribution to the household should be
>taken into account.

So if you have a new partner earning thousands more than you then your
ex shouldn't have to contribute towards the expenses of your and her
kids?

> He is hardly likely to withhold finances from my
>ex because my child is not his..what way is that to run household.

I agree. However that doesn't let you off contributing towards your
child's needs.

>If a new partners salary is not to be considered then why is it when
>absent parents are being assessed they are asked for details of the
>new partners earnings?

Partners of residential parents (PWC) are too. Didn't you know?

> Why should it be relevant if the child is not
>theirs either?
>

What about if she remains a lone parent and you acquire a new partner
complete with step children. Should your ex then have to take on more of
the cost of your daughter's upkeep because you begin to support step
children?

>[snip]
>
>>The real problems are when the ex and the new partner have new children
>>together... that is difficult to be fair about. It's not fair for the
>>original (net CS paying) partner to be financially affected at all by
>>that (they had no choice in the matter at all), but then neither is it
>>fair that the new partner should have to cop the lot! And if the new
>>baby was a genuine accident... and is the new baby to be treated
>>differently from their half siblings within the family unit, Or the two
>>sets of step children if that's the situation?
>>
>
>You make a very good point here and is one that I had not considered.
>I can see that if my ex takes on a new partner and they at some later
>stage have children of their own then the financial burden becomes
>greater for them also.
>

Sane if she doesn't get a new partner and children with that partner,
but you do...

>Good point...well made :-)
>
>Something to consider though, and I've already mentioned it above. If
>I, as an absent parent, have to declare the earnings of my partner to
>ensure I don't suffer financially when the assessment is made, then
>why is there not a greater emphasis on my ex's new partner's earnings
>to ensure that if they have kids they are not affected either?
>

I think BOTH parents should have to declare their total household
income, and if it's allowed that the father or his new partner be a SAH,
then so the other way too... and vice versa.

>Phew...managed to return Pat's volley of a point with a rasping
>backhand of my own......will it come back? :-)
>

BOIIIING! SPLAT! ;-))

Is that 15 all?

>>> and also if
>>>I am denied the chance of shared access I am paying full whack for my
>>>childs upkeep while another man enjoys the more parental control.
>>
>>... and the hassles of being a parent too! ;-))
>>
>
>I can't deny there would be hassles...but to have shared access would
>make me a very happy man :-)
>

And I hope you do.

All I'm trying to say is that a step parent gets the hassles as well as
the joys. It's not a one-way thing...

ian clark

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 17:46:03 +0100, Pat Winstanley
<pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:

[vast snip]

Unfortunate that like so many others you deem the absent parent to be
a father. That is a shame.

But anyway.


>
>So you should have to contribute towards the kids of your new lady, even
>if their bio daddy is a millionaire?
>

I would be doing that anyway. If I take on a new partner I would
expect to pay towards their upkeep. The absent parent would also be
expected to pay towards their upkeep. I have never suggested that an
absent parent not pay up. What I have suggested is that the payments
are proportional to the amount of time the absent parent gets with the
their children.

>And if you do, should that reduce the amount you pay to support your own
>kids?
>

It's bound to, but I don't have a problem with that since the family
within which my child lives will be supported by my ex and possibly
and new partner that my ex has. It seems to even out I think.

[another vast snip]

>
>So if you have a new partner earning thousands more than you then your
>ex shouldn't have to contribute towards the expenses of your and her
>kids?
>

If the earning power of myself and my new partner are sufficient to
support my child and any new ones that come along, then no, I don';t
think there is cause for my ex to contribute.

>> He is hardly likely to withhold finances from my
>>ex because my child is not his..what way is that to run household.
>
>I agree. However that doesn't let you off contributing towards your
>child's needs.
>

If I have sahred access with my child I will be contributing to her
upkeep while she is with me. If my child is living with my ex and her
new partner and they joint income is mammoth then I belive there is a
case for suggesting that there is little need for me to contribute.
If my ex and her new partner have the necessary means to do without my
contribution then any monies I have will be put toward my new family,
including and children from my new partners previous relationship.

[snip 'cause I lost the thread of what was happening this point :-)]

>> Why should it be relevant if the child is not
>>theirs either?
>>
>
>What about if she remains a lone parent and you acquire a new partner
>complete with step children. Should your ex then have to take on more of
>the cost of your daughter's upkeep because you begin to support step
>children?
>

Yes indeedy. Like I said, if I take on a new partner and we have
togther a clutch of kiddies to look after and this means that outr
joint earnings deem it sufficient to do so, then yes, my ex should
make a contribution to her own child. The more I earn, the my new
partner earns, the less is needed from the absent parent.

[snippity snip snip]

>
>I think BOTH parents should have to declare their total household
>income, and if it's allowed that the father or his new partner be a SAH,
>then so the other way too... and vice versa.
>

I think we're reaching an agreement here, If the new partners income
is to be considered, wither mine or my ex's, then consider it as a
whole. If circumstances permit and there is sufficient income to
support bioa children and "adopted" children, then absent parent need
not contribute to their children while they are not with them. I
should think in most cases this would not happen but it could.

>>Phew...managed to return Pat's volley of a point with a rasping
>>backhand of my own......will it come back? :-)
>>
>
>BOIIIING! SPLAT! ;-))
>
>Is that 15 all?
>

THWACK! Ian performs Boris Becker-like dive to side of court and
deftly lifts the next volley over the net but sustains injury from
Pat's onslaught.....the going is getting rougher and tougher :-)

[snip]

>All I'm trying to say is that a step parent gets the hassles as well as
>the joys. It's not a one-way thing...
>

Agreed.

Cheers, Ian.


John Ward

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

There appears to be a trend in this debate to favour a simpler scheme rather
than a targeted (and inevitably complex) scheme. I'm not sure why this NG
should be in favour of a simpler scheme - it could be rather brutal - but this
might be based on false assumptions about what the scheme might be. (7%? Not!
Try 17% or 25%!)

I suspect that the Government also favours a simple scheme, because it is
administratively faster and cheaper, and gives them the choice about whether to
use the DSS or IR to collect payments.

However, I have always been worried about simple schemes - they are likely to
miss loopholes that the better-off can exploit, while also missing the special
hardship-circumstances of the poorer-off.

See, for example, this post from Karen Randall:

Karen Randall <karen.randal...@dial.pipex.com> wrote in article
<01bd5bd5$48209b20$64c481c1@hiv3>...
(SNIP)
> I feel it is fairer to determine the actual cost of raising a child and
> assume that cost should be divided between both parents according to
> their
> ability to pay. their ability to pay should take into account the
> committments of each HOUSEHOLD (including its children, partners income
> etc) for BOTH parents and partners. Benefits should make up the
> shortfall
> where neither parent is working.
(SNIP)

Karen presumably accepts that targeted schemes like this require extensive
evidence collection from both households, and this accounts for much of the
delay and error-proneness of the current scheme.

So the questions for you all are:

- Can a targeted scheme like this be made to work satisfactorily?

- Is there a way of speeding up the collection of evidence, enforcing its
collection, perhaps catering for lack of evidence by suitable penalties, so
that child support can continue to be based on a targeted scheme but be made to
work?

Without satisfactory answers, I feel that the Government will be forced to
choose a simpler scheme, and it likely to make some APs' eyes water.


John Ward


John Ward

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

A number of contributors have discussed the cost of bringing up children.
Typically the sorts of amounts per week quoted appear to be rather small to me.

Here are some numbers which I found astonishing, from [1].

These are the amounts of money which CHILDREN THEMSELVES spend across the UK,
per WEEK, on average.

(Girls and boys averaged - in fact, girls tend to spend more than boys).

Age: Amount:

7-8 £4.40
9-10 £6.10
11-12 £9.20
13-14 £14.40
15 £19.20

(All: £9.30)

The older ones earn some of their money. All of them get money from parents,
relatives, etc.

Do you include these numbers in the amounts which you think PWCs should get on
behalf of the children?

----------
[1] Social Trends 28 (1998 Edition)
ISBN 0-11-620987-9


John Ward


A45 flyer

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

>From: i...@tubeway-army.demon.co.uk

>Provided my ex is living alone with my daughter I will contribute my
>full assessment to her for the care of my daughter.

>If my ex then begins living with a new


>partner as a family unit, his contribution to the household should be
>taken into account.

>If a new partners salary is not to be considered then why is it when


>absent parents are being assessed they are asked for details of the

>new partners earnings? Why should it be relevant if the child is not
>theirs either?

The reason is simple. The AP's partner's details are required so that his
Protected Income calculation can be done. It can't be done without knowing what
his/her Disposable Income (which includes a partner's income because the
protected income figure covers the partner's needs) is. The details are asked
for for the AP's benefit.

Since the PWC is never actually asked to part with money, there is no need for
a protected income calculation. So no need to inquire into a partner's income.

Both of the above scenarios are subject to the additional fact that a partner's
income may need to be known if the parent (AP/PWC) and their current partner
have a child between tham, though even then, they need not give the information
if they don't want to. It's just that certain inferences (not huge ones in the
case of the effect of joint children) will have to be made.

I told you it was simple.

Brian L

Pat Winstanley

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

In article <352130d1...@news.demon.co.uk>, ian clark <ian@tubeway-
army.demon.co.uk> writes

>On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 17:46:03 +0100, Pat Winstanley
><pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>[vast snip]
>
>Unfortunate that like so many others you deem the absent parent to be
>a father. That is a shame.
>

No I don't - I was simply taking the discussion from your point of view
which happens to be a case of absent father rather than absent mother. I
am a stauch supporter of dads being the primary carer just as much as
mums, and/or split residences where practical. And also mothers being
just as financially responsible for supporting their kids as fathers
are, wherever the kids generally live.

I was a reluctant full-time PWC after our divorce because their dad
refused to be the PWC or 50:50 share day-to-day custodial
responsibilities - he only wanted 'casual' access, which he had freely
and used most weekends. He was perfectly capable of looking after them
full-time with me having regular access *and* supporting all three of
them financially, but he didn't want the day-to-day bother and loss of
freedom it would have involved.

>
>[snip 'cause I lost the thread of what was happening this point :-)]
>

[likewise! ;-))]

>>I think BOTH parents should have to declare their total household
>>income, and if it's allowed that the father or his new partner be a SAH,
>>then so the other way too... and vice versa.
>>
>

>I think we're reaching an agreement here, If the new partners income
>is to be considered, wither mine or my ex's, then consider it as a
>whole. If circumstances permit and there is sufficient income to
>support bioa children and "adopted" children, then absent parent need
>not contribute to their children while they are not with them. I
>should think in most cases this would not happen but it could.
>

>>>Phew...managed to return Pat's volley of a point with a rasping
>>>backhand of my own......will it come back? :-)
>>>
>>
>>BOIIIING! SPLAT! ;-))
>>
>>Is that 15 all?
>>
>

>THWACK! Ian performs Boris Becker-like dive to side of court and
>deftly lifts the next volley over the net but sustains injury from
>Pat's onslaught.....the going is getting rougher and tougher :-)
>

I'll be gentle....POOOOWWWW! ;-)

>[snip]


>
>>All I'm trying to say is that a step parent gets the hassles as well as
>>the joys. It's not a one-way thing...
>>
>

>Agreed.
>
>Cheers, Ian.

Pat Winstanley

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

In article <199803312346...@ladder01.news.aol.com>, A45 flyer
<a45f...@aol.com> writes

>>From: i...@tubeway-army.demon.co.uk
>
>>Provided my ex is living alone with my daughter I will contribute my
>>full assessment to her for the care of my daughter.
>
>>If my ex then begins living with a new
>>partner as a family unit, his contribution to the household should be
>>taken into account.
>
>>If a new partners salary is not to be considered then why is it when
>>absent parents are being assessed they are asked for details of the
>>new partners earnings? Why should it be relevant if the child is not
>>theirs either?
>
>The reason is simple. The AP's partner's details are required so that his
>Protected Income calculation can be done. It can't be done without knowing what
>his/her Disposable Income (which includes a partner's income because the
>protected income figure covers the partner's needs) is. The details are asked
>for for the AP's benefit.
>
>Since the PWC is never actually asked to part with money,

ROFL!!!! As if!

> there is no need for
>a protected income calculation. So no need to inquire into a partner's income.
>
>Both of the above scenarios are subject to the additional fact that a partner's
>income may need to be known if the parent (AP/PWC) and their current partner
>have a child between tham, though even then, they need not give the information
>if they don't want to. It's just that certain inferences (not huge ones in the
>case of the effect of joint children) will have to be made.
>
>I told you it was simple.
>
>Brian L

--
Pat Winstanley
http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk

Anonymous

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

I've been following the debates with interest, it's good to see some
constructive ideas and a frank exchange of views.

From a totally selfish standpoint a "Simple System" would get my vote,
mainly because of the trauma induced by the current system. At least you
know exactly where you stand with a fixed percentage. Obviously the big
issue would be what %, you can't please all the people all of the time!!.
Though 7% sounds a bit low to me, 20% would still be less what I currently
pay. Perhaps there's some scope for banding, relating to tax code/band,
although how this would work for self employed people I'm not sure. I would
also be happy to have this collected through taxation.

Are CSA operating costs available anywhere ? I'm just getting curious, I've
received 15 letters @ 20p a time in the last few weeks when you scale this
up....mind you the Inland revenue 'aint much better.

Keep up the good work.

Pip.
("Keep passing the open windows")


Ian Clark

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

On Wed, 1 Apr 1998 00:48:26 +0100, Pat Winstanley
<pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <352130d1...@news.demon.co.uk>, ian clark <ian@tubeway-

>army.demon.co.uk> writes


>>On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 17:46:03 +0100, Pat Winstanley
>><pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>>[vast snip]
>>
>>Unfortunate that like so many others you deem the absent parent to be
>>a father. That is a shame.
>>
>
>No I don't - I was simply taking the discussion from your point of view
>which happens to be a case of absent father rather than absent mother. I
>am a stauch supporter of dads being the primary carer just as much as
>mums, and/or split residences where practical. And also mothers being
>just as financially responsible for supporting their kids as fathers
>are, wherever the kids generally live.
>

Please accept my apologies for my previous statement. I retract the
inference attributed to you.

Always pleased to right a wrong :-)

[mega snip to spare other readers]

Ian Clark

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

On 31 Mar 1998 20:04:40 GMT, "John Ward" <john...@iclweb.com> wrote:

>There appears to be a trend in this debate to favour a simpler scheme rather
>than a targeted (and inevitably complex) scheme. I'm not sure why this NG
>should be in favour of a simpler scheme - it could be rather brutal - but this
>might be based on false assumptions about what the scheme might be. (7%? Not!
>Try 17% or 25%!)
>
>I suspect that the Government also favours a simple scheme, because it is
>administratively faster and cheaper, and gives them the choice about whether to
>use the DSS or IR to collect payments.
>

[snip]

Just a quick point off the top of my head.

Unemployment benefit is a simple scheme rather than targeted. This
benefit takes no account of an individuals needs and responsibilities.

So, if an across the board payment can work out here, why not with CSA
payments.

Just a thought...not fully worked out so I'm expecting a come back of
sorts from other readers :-)

Pat Winstanley

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

In article <35225c34....@news.demon.co.uk>, Ian Clark
<i...@tubeway-army.demon.co.uk> writes

>On 31 Mar 1998 20:04:40 GMT, "John Ward" <john...@iclweb.com> wrote:
>
>>There appears to be a trend in this debate to favour a simpler scheme rather
>>than a targeted (and inevitably complex) scheme. I'm not sure why this NG
>>should be in favour of a simpler scheme - it could be rather brutal - but this
>>might be based on false assumptions about what the scheme might be. (7%? Not!
>>Try 17% or 25%!)
>>
>>I suspect that the Government also favours a simple scheme, because it is
>>administratively faster and cheaper, and gives them the choice about whether to
>>use the DSS or IR to collect payments.
>>
>[snip]
>
>Just a quick point off the top of my head.
>
>Unemployment benefit is a simple scheme rather than targeted. This
>benefit takes no account of an individuals needs and responsibilities.

On the other hand it also is liable to be topped up with the means
tested Income Support.

Whichever way you go, to be fair to those at the top and the bottom of
the earning scales some sort of means-testing is needed. Those for whome
a straight percentage will be unreasonably high or low.

>
>So, if an across the board payment can work out here, why not with CSA
>payments.
>
>Just a thought...not fully worked out so I'm expecting a come back of
>sorts from other readers :-)
>
>Cheers, Ian.
>
>Tedious 'office speak' part 3: "Let's go scuba in the think tank."

--
Pat Winstanley
http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk

A45 flyer

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

>From: Pat Winstanley

>>Since the PWC is never actually asked to part with money,

>ROFL!!!! As if!

What are you talking about? The PWC is NOT asked to part with child support
(and you knew full well that that was what I meant by "money").

If you are drawing attention to the significant costs which fall to the PWC, I
can see why, but there is no need to deliberately misinterpret.

Brian L

Pat Winstanley

unread,
Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

In article <199804012237...@ladder01.news.aol.com>, A45 flyer
<a45f...@aol.com> writes

The point is that the total CS amount is made up from both parents'
incomes. The AP pays X, the PWC pays Y and together X + Y make up the
total CS. If matters were arranged so that both parents paid their share
to a third party and then the whole of the CS were paid on to the PWC,
the net result would be exactly the same as now where the PWC
effectively pays the money out and back to themself, to go with the
money from the AP, to be used to support the child.

It can quite easily be the case that the PWC pays the lion's share of
the CS if the AP is on a low income.

If the PWC doesn't have any available income then you are correct, but
if they do, they are assessed an amount greater than zero. Same for the
AP.
(Ignoring the tiny contribution that is a minimum from benefits)

Anonymous

unread,
Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

The longer this debates goes on the more confused I've become.

Perhaps the law should be changed so that maintenance arrangements are left
to the parties concerned, if they can't reach an agreement they can then
opt for the current system :-))

One thing this whole situation has done is made me reflect on the wider
issues surrounding our society.

Sad bloke Pip.

A45 flyer

unread,
Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

>From: Pat Winstanley

>The point is that the total CS amount is made up from both parents'
>incomes. The AP pays X, the PWC pays Y and together X + Y make up the
>total CS. If matters were arranged so that both parents paid their share
>to a third party and then the whole of the CS were paid on to the PWC,
>the net result would be exactly the same as now where the PWC
>effectively pays the money out and back to themself, to go with the
>money from the AP, to be used to support the child.
>
>It can quite easily be the case that the PWC pays the lion's share of
>the CS if the AP is on a low income.

I know all that, and of course it is right.

It does not undermine my previous point, which is that within the context of
Child Support, the PWC is not asked to part with money as maintenance. Her
contributions (and I see no problem in saying "her") is paid to herself. She is
not asked to part with money, unless you count paying money to oneself as
parting with it.

The reason this arose was in the context of explaining that questions for the
AP, designed to elicit information needed for his Protected Income calculation,
do not apply to the PWC for the reasons given above and in previous postings.
She does not need a Protected Income, because she will not be asked to give
money to the other parent.

My point was not about allocation of Assessable Income between the parents, on
which you are entirely correct.

Brian L

Mike Farr

unread,
Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

snip

>Are CSA operating costs available anywhere ? I'm just getting curious, I've
>received 15 letters @ 20p a time in the last few weeks when you scale this
>up....mind you the Inland revenue 'aint much better.
>
yes, a very good point - 20p for a letter, just like the bit of flotsam the
captain of the Titanic saw when he shouted "look at that litter that some
ol' bugger has left in the water over there!"

>Keep up the good work.
>

>Pip.
>("Keep passing the open windows")
>

Mike Farr
the infamous Mr "F"

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