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Councils: please don’t charge single parents for receiving child maintenance

Gingerbread has found that 26 local councils in England are now counting child maintenance as income when calculating whether single parents can afford to pay their council tax bill in full. This means single parents living in these areas are effectively being charged if they receive child maintenance, even though this is financial support from a separated parent specifically for their children. We believe this is wholly unfair.

In response, Gingerbread is calling on the 26 councils (listed below) to reverse their decision.

Many of the councils have openly acknowledged that the introduction of this new method for calculating council tax support will disproportionately hit single parent families – a large proportion of whom will be out of work with no earnings. Single parents have already been hit hard by multiple government cuts at a time of rising prices and pressure on earnings. This latest cut risks not only pushing more single parents into poverty but also increasing the rates of child poverty in the local councils affected.

We are writing to the Council leaders and Chief Executives at the 26 councils who have taken this decision, providing a briefing which sets out why child maintenance is so important for low income single parent families, and explaining why we believe that counting child maintenance for council tax support purposes is a backward step.  

Below is a list of the councils who are including child maintenance as income in council tax support calculations.

Would you like to get involved with our campaign? If you live in any of the affected areas and want to send your own message to your council telling them why you think child maintenance should be protected, please use this link to find the contact details of your local councillor and write to them.


Full CM counted or partial

Link to Contact Page of council

 Bath and North East Somerset


 Bolton Metropolitan Borough

Full - though limited to 8.5% loss for those who would have received full amount of CTB

 Brentwood Borough

First £15 per week is disregarded

 Chelmsford City

First £10 per week is disregarded

Chiltern District   Full 
 Crawley Borough

First £15 per week is disregarded   

 Doncaster Metropolitan

Full - though limited to 8.5% loss for those who would have received full amount of CTB

 Epping Forest District

First £15 per week is disregarded

 Huntingdonshire District

First £10 per week is disregarded   

 Maldon District


 Malvern Hills  Full 
 Mendip District


 North Kesteven District  First £50 per week is disregarded
 North Somerset   25% of maintenance payments are disregarded 
 Rochford District


 Rushmoor Borough

Full and Child Benefit too‎

 Sedgemoor District Council  Disregard of £65.52 per child
 Slough Borough


South Gloucestershire   Full but ignored where a child is under 5  
South Norfolk  Full
 South Somerset District


 Tamworth Borough


 Taunton Deane Borough


 Waverley Borough


West Oxford   Full
 West Somerset



poppydonuts avatar
26 October 2013 02:59

As a resident of South Staffs council I can tell you that I have been penalised a ridiculous degree despite the fact that I do not even recieie any Child support. South Staffs do not take into account child support, but DO now include your child benefit. Imagine having ZERO child support AND having your child benefit taken away. They make NO distinction between a parent with care who does receive child support and who doesn't. My council tax bill went from £300 (approx) to £1050. I sincerely hope Gingerbread will look at the issue of money, in respect of children being abused by local councils and CSA fee's as they are probably the most cruel of taxes. These funds are meant for the upkeep of children, not to support the wider community.

Celia_0696 avatar
19 October 2013 10:08

Thank you Gingerbread for highlighting this activity. I have suffered financially as I now have to pay FULL council tax, despite being a single parent working just 22 hours per week! I feel that this issue has not been highlighted in the press, yet the press have been very pro-active in the covering of the bedroom tax! I really hope that Gingerbread can get these councils to reverse this decision. It is unfair for us working single parents!!

Princesshay13 avatar
18 October 2013 23:41

I am appalled by this news of including child maintenance in calculation! Another way to tax the single parents and if introduced in Devon I would horrified like people from these 22 boroughs! Luckily I live over the Somerset border! I wish I earnt £7.45 an hour which is apparently the "living wage" in Exeter!! I suggest the CSA make more regular assessments of absent parents then that would give some help to resident parent! How much notice has been given to introduce this change? My sympathies are with my other Gingerbread friends affected!

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