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Parents fail to pay child maintenance

Nearly a third of parents who pay their child maintenance through a government scheme in South Kesteven are failing to pay their ex-partners - and more than 40 per cent in Rutland.

Newly released figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that around 300 parents were due to pay support through the Child Maintenance Service in South Kesteven between April and June 2018.

News (6320763)
News (6320763)

Of them, 32 per cent had their payments in arrears - down from 35 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

And in Rutland around 50 parents were due to pay support but of them, 43 per cent had their payments in arrears - down from 47 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

The charity for single-parent families, Gingerbread, said the rate of non-compliance in Britain, about 37 per cent, is “worryingly high”.

The Government payment service, Collect and Pay, is part of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which was set up in 2012 to replace the Child Support Agency.

The CMS can take money from a parent’s earnings or their bank account if they try to avoid payments, or take a parent to court.

From July to September, the best payment rate was in Orkney Islands, in Scotland, where only 22 per cent of parents failed to pay. The poorest record was in Tandridge, where 51 per cent of parents did not meet their obligations to their children.

The Child Maintenance Service can also calculate the amount of child support to be paid and parents can make the arrangements themselves - a scheme called Direct Pay.

In South Kesteven, 670 parents made Direct Pay arrangements from July to September 2018, while in Rutland the number was 150 during the same time period.

Sumi Rabindrakumar, research officer at Gingerbread, said: “These figures show the Government still needs to get to grips with unpaid child maintenance. Time and time again, parents come to Gingerbread frustrated by CMS inaction. This is not just about introducing more powers.

“The CMS must deal with cases more promptly and make better use of existing powers.”

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