Entrepreneur accused of preying on hardened moms after attempting to start a business that will benefit from their child support
Plan: Jason Highet (pictured) describes himself on Linkedin as a ‘dynamic and conscientious entrepreneur’
An entrepreneur has been accused of preying on mothers who got into trouble after trying to start a business that would take advantage of their child support benefits.
Jason Highet, who describes himself on Linkedin as a ‘dynamic and conscientious entrepreneur’, has sought to raise £1.5 million from investors to get his start-up, which he has dubbed the Child Care Bank (CCB), off the ground. to get.
His plan is to offer families all of their future child support benefits at once – at a price. In exchange for the money upfront, parents – usually mothers – will then transfer their entitlement to future benefits to CCB via its app. There will be an 8% cut.
The plans were revealed in a presentation to investors, seen by the Mail. MPs labeled the idea ‘terrible’, while Conservative Kevin Hollinrake said: ‘This is potentially prey for the vulnerable – it’s tempting for debt-paying families to take a short-term option with long-term ramifications.’
MEPs also expressed concern that vulnerable women could be forced by an abusive partner to take the lump sum and then hand it over to him. It is understood that CCB will build features in its app that will allow women to report if they are being abused and to deny child support applicants known to social services or their local government, for example because of addiction problems or neglect.
However, it was unclear how these measures would work and how robust they would be. Labor’s Yvonne Fovargue, head of the parliamentary group on debt, said: ‘This sounds awful. It’s really just one step away from a loan shark taking child support.’
Fovargue has written to Therese Coffey, Minister for Work and Pensions, about the app.
Highet unveiled ambitious plans to borrow £39.2 billion over the next three years to cover the lump sum. He claimed to be ‘in talks’ with major High Street banks and thinks his idea could help those struggling at home get back to work by giving them money to pay for childcare.
According to its forecasts, CCB will pay out £35.9 billion in lump sums to around 7.2 million families over the next three years.
Child benefit is paid at the rate of £21.15 per week for the oldest and £14 for each additional child. For families where a parent earns more than £50,000, the payments are taxed, and for anyone who earns £60,000, all benefit is lost through tax.
But if both partners earn less than £50,000 and claim their oldest child up to the maximum age of 20, the total benefit would rise to £21,996 at the current rate.
Highet declined to comment.
A spokesman for HMRC said: ‘The right to child support is dependent on a claim made by a person responsible for a child. Only if someone is unable to act can someone else claim child benefit on his behalf.’