£3 billion in child support debt ‘lost’

finances and divorce

As much as £3 billion in child maintenace debt owed by parents under the Child Support Agency  (CSA) may never be recovered, the government believes.

In a new report, the National Audit Office (NAO) reports on the continuing winding down of the notorious agency. The Department for Work and Pensions has been engaged in the task for five years it says, but the prcess has been slow and bogged down at times, the NAO says, citing staffing shortages and inaccurate assessments.

Out of outstanding maintenanance arrears of approximately £4 billion, the watchdog belives three quarters is now “uncollectable”. Some of this debt dates back decades.

An additional £527 million is “potentially collectable” it says, while just £366 million is “likely to be collected”.

As much as £1.4 billiion is owed by a tiny minority of non-resident parents the report claims – just four per cent of the non-resident parents.

Meanwhile, closure of the CSA is behind schedule but the Department for Work and Pensions still hopes to complete the process by the end of this year.

A government spokesman insisted:

“The old system wasn’t good enough, which is why the CSA has been replaced, and today nearly 90 per cent of parents are paying the maintenance they owe. We are taking enforcement action in a higher proportion of historic cases than in the past and will be publishing a strategy for addressing arrears in due course.”

Photo by Zechariah Judy via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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5 comments

Andrew - March 28, 2017 at 8:22pm

Some of this must be “owed” by men now deceased and no personal representatives appointed because they left nothing worth the trouble.

CMEC needs to take a realistic view and write off what is beyond collection. And such debt should be subject to the Limitation Act, and discharged on bankruptcy. As should debts arising from financial orders in divorce, which should however be postponed for dividend behind debts to non-matrimonial creditors.

Paul - March 28, 2017 at 11:05pm

I have just received a letter from CSA or whatever they call themselves now.
Im being moved onto the THIRD collection system since I started dealing with them. THEY ARE CRIMINAL !! THEY ARE INCOMPETANT !! They have shamelessly stollen money for me. I have a folder 3 inches thick of their misakes blunders and miscalculations.
An now I have just been informed that from the money they take from me more of the money will go to them than to my kids. To pay them for their service… lol
I absolutly dispair of them.
Bear in mind that my ex has been stopping me from seeing my children for 2 years.
She has made false alegations to the police which cost me a job.
Thankfully i overturned the false conviction and attend my first meeting with CAFCAS on Friday.
Social justice does not exist in any way shape or form for men. The British family court system is shamelessly predudicial.
What I have seen so far is a national disgrace.

Andy - March 29, 2017 at 7:06am

It is no supplies that the agency as known CSA could not organist the collection of money owed.
It also comes as no supplies that the CSA then, was totally incompetent as well.
It is no supprisingly that the NRP never paid as the calculation was just unworkable as it still is today CMS,,,

Because of all the FXXk ups in the CSA and the new CMS that now demand increased payments then no bloody wonder..In the end the CMS will always be incompetent and there will always be the non payers.I don’t blame the non payers at at all. The CMS calculation basically wipes any financial gain from the NRP who cannot survive in today’s world…you try and deal with the CMS you will see..
The answer to this is CMS, how dare you challenge our calculation…we are right and you are wrong..
Battle on.

Yvie - March 29, 2017 at 9:19am

A percentage of these arrears may be fictitious, where fathers have been in and out of work yet the CSA has accrued debt owing despite this. If arrears cannot be collected after a certain length of time they should be written o,f as it perpetuates the myth that dads don’t pay, when the majority of dads certainly do pay. Interestingly, on the Gingerbread facebook page, there were a number of comments from mums to the effect that they are owed money from their ex., who they couldn’t stand and who their children didn’t want anything to do with, (the children’s choice apparently, nothing to do with mum). These mothers seem to have their priorities wrong, money owed being more important than the children’s relationship with their father. This is something which Government could and should address, rather than trying to chase arrears, fictitious or otherwise, which are unlikely to be recovered.

Paul - March 29, 2017 at 9:35am

Bravo !!
Absolutly correct. A perfect comment. Its not just me going through such hell. Thank you !!

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