Child Support Agency ‘has failed to collect £4 billion’

Child maintenance

The soon-to-be-disbanded Child Support Agency has failed to collect as much as £4 billion in child maintenance, the single parent charity Gingerbread claims.

In a new report entitled Missing Maintenance, the charity claims the multi-billion arrears have accumulated over the 23 year lifespan of the notorious agency, which is still in the process of being closed down in favour of successor organisation the Child Maintenance Service. The government estimates, however, that only around 12 per cent of the arrears will ever be collected.

The average debt to families still involved with CSA cases is £2,067, the charity claims, declaring:

“This is money that could make a huge difference to children’s lives; yet for families still using the CSA, debt collection activity is declining. At the same time evidence suggests that decreasing effort is being put by the government into collecting more than £700m of arrears on existing cases.”

Meanwhile, Gingerbread continues, around £52 million in arrears has already been accumulated by the Child Maintenance Service, despite a system of financial incentives and fines which were intended to prevent this occurring. Close to half of all parents involved with the CMS are now owed money by the non-resident parent.

Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir claimed

“Britain’s child maintenance system is contributing to a culture where too many parents think it’s optional, rather than obligatory, to pay their child’s maintenance. The accumulated level of CSA arrears is staggering and completely unacceptable.”

She added:

“… it remains unclear what will happen to money still owed for children once the CSA closes for good. The government is keen to move on and have a fresh start. But there should be no fresh start for those who still owe child maintenance for children today.”

Missing Maintenance is available here.

Image by Alf Melin via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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4 comments

Andrew - June 16, 2016 at 3:42pm

There is no reason why matrimonial and child maintenance debt should not be subject to limitation like all other debt. None at all.
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They should also be discharged by bankruptcy. They should again be like all other debt; except that marriage being a partnership, or so we are told, debts due between ex-spouses, such as unpaid lump sum orders, should not rank for dividend until all the other creditors have been paid in full. It may be tough that your ex-husband has not paid you your lump sum but if there is not enough to go round – which is commonly the case when the collapse of the business and the collapse of the marriage go hand in hand – you should not expect to see any money until the business creditors have been paid. (That of course does not apply to child maintenance arrears which should rank with the outside debt; the children are not partners). And when your ex-h has parted with what he has through the bankruptcy process he should like any other bankrupt have a clean start. If that is wrong, why is it wrong?

Andy - June 16, 2016 at 4:36pm

Very volatile subject..So as prior comments by Andrew..it was a partnership then equal financial support by both parents..The CMS has created and it hides behind an agreeable financial support if you read the poor worded booklet that you get when your PWC pays application fee of £20.00 and the process starts..
What it really means is PWC states at home does nothing claimed for everything and the NRP looses a quarter of his salary for children’s living costs..and the mother pays for what exactly…
With the CMS if you don’t pay action is taken to remove funds from source and further action to withdraw your driving licence etc you get the picture..So now it has turned from an agreeable financial payment to a demand if you didn’t pay with intervention by CMS…As stated prior.the system is made easier for PWC who by the way can fiddle all benefits, work maximum 30 hrs then on top of that your demanded payments..all add’s up to a pretty good life style..As for the NRP no wonder he or she goes on the dole, goes bankrupt.self employed. Because it now is one sided financial support..you should both pay not just one pay..I would like to see where you both pay into a account of an independent account then money is drawn for what is needed..
When does this government ever learn..it won’t but in its drive to reduce costs it places the burden onto the NRP to support children and to stop people claiming benefits..Clearly it supports the PWC..
plenty of loopholes if you so wish to follow and the agency can do nothing about it…idiots…

spinner - June 17, 2016 at 10:10am

It doesn’t stop people claiming benefits, they just get the CSA payments on top of the benefits if they are able to claim them.

JamesB - June 18, 2016 at 10:13am

In other news fathers receive an additional £4 billion to spend on their children rather than the state wading in f’ing everything up as they normally do on this subject and that news is a good thing.

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