Today, SNP MP Marion Fellows has called for the UK Government to support children and “get a grip” of rising debt owed under the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
As of September 2020, recorded arrears have accumulated to £379.2m – 9% of all maintenance that should have been paid. Therefore, almost £1 of every £10 is not being delivered.
In her debate in Parliament today, Mrs Fellows called again for the UK Government to introduce a Minimum Maintenance Payment to provide parents-with-care and their children a guaranteed income. A call also backed by single-parent charity Gingerbread.
Mrs Fellows also repeated the SNP’s calls for a root and branch review of the CMS with an end to the 4% ‘Maintenance Tax’ on receiving parents where enforcement is required which taxed £33.3million from children in 2018/19.
The SNP also called for enforcement powers to be used to clear the debt. Since 2019, only three passports have been confiscated and no driving licenses.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
“The Child Maintenance Service is in crisis. There must be an urgent and root and branch review. Children are being forgotten by the UK Government during the pandemic when they should be the top priority. With arrears rising to £379.2m, the UK Government needs to get a grip of the maintenance crisis.
“A Minimum Maintenance Payment would ensure a dignified standard of living for children and prevent them facing hardship. A willingness from CMS to use the powers at its disposal will also deliver full and timely maintenance and clear the millions of pounds of debt.
“The UK Government also needs to end the punitive 4% Maintenance Tax on children. The CMS should be delivering financial support for children. Instead, they are taking food from children’s tables, energy out of their utility meters, and clothes off their backs.
“In stark contrast, the Scottish Government is using its devolved powers to deliver an additional £10 per week to families through the Scottish Child Payment, and also providing support through the Best Start Grant, the Baby Box and free school meals over school holidays.”