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Entries in child maintenance reform (2)


Will child maintenance reform work in Scotland?

East Edinburgh MP Sheila Gilmore received the usual brush off  answer to her parliamentary question about how child maintenance reforms are going to be implemented in Scotland.

She asked Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller what discussions there has been with the Scottish Government Ministers on providing additional resources for mediation services in Scotland to support separating parents to reach voluntary arrangements for child maintenance should the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill on child maintenance become law.

Her answer states: "The Government recognise that family support is a devolved matter and we are working closely with Scottish Government colleagues to look at implications for family support services in Scotland." and goes on to say that mediation isn't the only approach that they are exploring."

It's a very valid question, given that the original proposals paid no heed to circumstances in Scotland.  Whatever the quality of relations between Westminster and Holyrood, this is a crucial issue, and an answer like this strongly suggests that nothing at all is happening.


Cross-border relationship support issues

Edinburgh East MP Sheila Gilmore asked DWP minister Maria Miller how parents will be supported to maintain relationships after separation, in connection with the Government's plans for child support reform, and queried whether existing budgets for this support in England are adequate.

The minister admitted that the current child support schemes can entrench conflict and they do not encourage parents to work together in the best interests of their children.

She added "We are taking steps to draw on a range of support to help parents collaborate to reach family-based arrangements for child maintenance wherever possible, which we believe will help the ongoing involvement of both parents in a child’s life after separation."

Given that the funding and support that Maria Miller mentioned will not apply in Scotland, we await with interest for signs that the Scottish Government is adapting their spending plans to coincide with child maintenance reform.  Or the reverse.