MP welcomes report on child maintenance

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Stuart McDonald MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, has endorsed a report which calls for a fairer child maintenance system and condemns the disastrous record of the Child Support Agency (CSA) in collecting unpaid child maintenance.

The report from the charity Gingerbread, entitled ‘Missing Maintenance’, estimates that within his constituency there is around £3.4 million of unpaid CSA child maintenance owed to parents with care. The report also demonstrates the importance of child maintenance by suggesting that it can lift one in five single parents out of poverty.

Mr McDonald believes that separated parents with main caring responsibilities have borne the burden of the failure of the CSA and the newly formed Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to manage child maintenance debt collection.

He said: “Child maintenance is an invaluable source of income for single parent families, it helps put food on the table, keep a roof over a child’s head and ensures that they have the best possible start in life. With the Tories austerity cuts continuing to squeeze incomes across the country, single parents look set to lose £1,300 in income by 2020/21 as a result of tax and welfare changes. This means that the financial support given by separated parents towards the cost of raising their children is more important than ever.

“This Gingerbread report shows that in my constituency alone, this Tory Government’s lacklustre performance has meant that single parent families are missing out on £3.4 million of unpaid child maintenance.

“The UK Government must do more to ensure that unpaid maintenance debts are collected and show a significant improvement in enforcement action over the next three years, with clear collection targets for both Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Service debts.”