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Children & Child Custody

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Government pledges to tackle child maintenance arrears

The Minister in charge of the child maintenance system has pledged the Government will take greater action to tackle parents who avoid their child maintenance responsibilities.

It comes as new figures show sharp increases in the use of key enforcement powers against parents who refuse to pay. Deduction Orders - where money is removed directly from debtor’s accounts - have trebled since 2009. Driving disqualifications for non-payment have risen eightfold since 2008.

Recent Child Support Agency data also shows that more than 5,000 past and current CSA cases are over £50,000 in arrears.

Work and Pensions Minister, Maria Miller, said:

“These shocking figures underline the long- term failure of a system that has let down countless families. We are now taking tougher action against those who have refused to pay. All parents who are still owed CSA arrears can be assured that we will take all reasonable steps to recover this money for them.”

“Separated parents can also avoid the conflict that often comes with CSA involvement by making their own, family-based maintenance arrangements whenever possible. We’ve already committed £20 million for developing better co-ordinated local support services to help them do that. It will help the new state child maintenance service to concentrate more effectively on parents who deliberately cheat their children out of financial support.”

The Government has also confirmed that it is committed to introducing further enforcement powers for use against parents who refuse to pay, when the time is right. The proposed forthcoming integration of the child maintenance system into the Department for Work and Pensions will ensure full Ministerial accountability for the use of these far-reaching powers.

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