In January 2022 the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Single Parent Families met to discuss how the Child Maintenance Service must be improved for the benefit of children of single-parent families across the country (‘What am I paying for?’: The need to improve the Child Maintenance Service).
The remote meeting, titled ‘Making the Child Maintenance Service Work for Single Parent Families‘ was chaired by Rupa Huq MP and included the following speakers:
- Victoria Benson, CEO of Gingerbread
- Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, CEO of Surviving Economic Abuse
- Gemma and Yael, two single parents who shared their first-hand experiences of the CMS
- APPG Vice-Chair Rosie Duffield MP
- Stephen Timms MP
- Philip Davies MP
- Sally-Ann Hart MP
- Peter Bottomley MP
Child maintenance provides vital financial support paid from one parent to another to assist with their child’s everyday living costs. The cost to the parent paying the child maintenance is generally 12% of their gross weekly income for one child and 16% gross weekly income for two children (How We Work Out Child Maintenance, Gov). Child Maintenance Service (CMS) offers a Collect and pay service that allows the receiving parents to have the child maintenance calculated, collected and paid to them on behalf of the paying parent.
Shocking statistics were released in December 2021 which detailed that since the formation of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) in 2012, there has been over £435.9 million in unpaid child maintenance owed through its Collect and Pay service. This has real life consequences for the children who could have benefited from this sum.
Gingerbread the single parents and equal families campaigner has made practical proposals to CMS to improve the service, namely:
- The CMS should make better use of its enforcement powers to deal with those who avoid or minimise child maintenance payments
- Fairer Child Maintenance Service (CMS) charges should be introduced to remove the £20 enrolment charge and 4% ongoing charge for those receiving child maintenance
- Customer service and case management at CMS needs to be improved
- The DWP must be more open about the data it shares about the CMS so that the system is transparent and open to scrutiny
- The service must be better attuned to the needs of domestic abuse survivors and the effects economic resources can have in rebuilding their lives
These proposals are practical and easily implemented, but most importantly, they could stop many children losing out on money for their everyday living costs.
If you require advice regarding your child maintenance situation Stalwart Solicitors is happy to talk to you regarding the facts and nature of your case. We possess several years of experience and expertise across children proceedings, and will always work to achieve what is in your best interests.
Please get in touch with us for a 30-minute free video chat, web chat or telephone call to start the conversation and see how we can help. We are available 24/7 through the following platforms:
Telephone: 0345 222 0452