UK GOVERNMENT “FAILING SINGLE PARENTS” SAYS MP MARION

31st October 2016

REPORT FROM ONE PARENT FAMILIES SCOTLAND SHOWS EXTENT OF CMS FAILURES AS WORK AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE INVESTIGATES

A report from One Parent Families Scotland submitted to the Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into the Child Maintenance Service has exposed the full extent of the service’s failures.

The submission reported that 78 per cent of parents with care said the Child Maintenance Service was performing poorly or very poorly; in terms of enforcement action in ensuring children receive the payments, 80 per cent felt it was ineffective or extremely ineffective at enforcing payments; the £20 application fee had a negative impact on 63 per cent of parents; and over two thirds of parents felt Direct Pay wasn’t working well.

Commenting, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows said:

“Since elected, I have assisted a number of people with their child maintenance issues. Each time, the same issues arise where receiving parents find that they receive very little help from CMS to enforce the payments their child is entitled to. Receiving parents face a constant uphill battle to secure their rights.

“Astonishingly, nearly half of non-resident parents owe unpaid maintenance. These parents must pay.

“The UK Government must also look at the £20 fee and deductions for statutory enforcement. Child support is an essential right to support children and less well-off families should not be disadvantaged by this unnecessary charge.

“The CMS’s predecessor, Child Support Agency, was set up as single parents were relying on benefits. Now that the Tories have torn the welfare state apart, there is no safety net for single parent families and many have had to turn to foodbanks. The UK Government is failing single parents.

“Many aspects of the CMS are in need of reform and the UK Government must listen to the findings of One Parent Families Scotland and Work and Pensions Committee’s findings to take action to secure families their rights.”