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MORAY MP URGES SUPPORT FOR PETITION AGAINST "DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIM TAX"

20/03/2017  

Moray’s MP Angus Robertson is encouraging constituents to sign a parliamentary petition, which calls on the UK Government to scrap a ‘cruel and callous’ tax on victims of domestic abuse.

The petition calls for the UK Government to remove the 4% collection charge on child maintenance payments that applies to parents using the ‘Collect-and-Pay’ service.

Payments made to the ‘Collect-and-Pay’ service are managed by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and can be removed directly from the paying parent’s bank account. The ‘Collect-and-Pay’ service also has enforcement powers available to ensure maintenance is paid on time and in full.

The CMS exempt victims of domestic violence from the £20 application fee, but do not make any exemptions from the monthly charges.

Questions from the SNP at Westminster 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.

However Mr Robertson has stressed that the ‘Direct-Pay’ service does not offer the same protections as ‘Collect-and-Pay’ and can continue the cycle of control and abuse.

Angus Robertson MP said:

“It is a disturbing fact the most common violent crime in Moray is a result of domestic abuse. A great deal is being done by organisations like Moray Women’s Aid, Police Scotland and many others to tackle domestic abuse but we also need the UK Government to consider the impact of other policies such as the collection charge on child maintenance payments.

“Victims of domestic abuse should be protected by the UK government, not punished financially for not engaging with their abusive ex-partner. The ‘Collect-and-Pay’ service helps parents who have left an abusive relationship by anonymising payments but that is undermined when there is a 4% charge associated with it.

“The UK government advises victims of domestic abuse that they should utilise the less safe ‘Direct-Pay’ scheme, which has no powers of enforcement and allows continued communication through bank transfers.

“Financial control over their victim is a very common form of abuse and this cruel and callous policy, enables that abuse to continue.

“The Tories have shown a complete lack of compassion by introducing this charge and even worse, they actually risk putting the lives of domestic abuse victim-survivors and their children in real danger.

“The UK government 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.”

The campaign to have the policy changed has the support of One Parent Family Scotland, the White Ribbon Campaign and Scottish Women’s Aid, who have all welcomed the petition.

The link to the petition is: www.domesticabusevictimtax.co.uk

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