Almost 250 Fife parents fail to pay child maintenance during lockdown

Nearly 250 parents in Fife failed to pay child maintenance during the latest lockdown, figures show.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 4:10 pm

Charity Gingerbread, which supports single parent families, said if those owed maintenance and living in poverty nationally were paid what was due, three in five would be "lifted out of the poverty trap".

While separated parents can agree a child maintenance arrangement, many use the Government's Child Maintenance Service to calculate how much one parent should pay to the other for their child's upbringing.

Department for Work and Pensions data shows 246 parents in Fife failed to pay any child maintenance through the Collect and Pay service between January and March.

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Nearly 100 parents in Falkirk failed to pay child maintenance during the latest lockdown, figures show.
Nearly 100 parents in Falkirk failed to pay child maintenance during the latest lockdown, figures show.

It means 26% of the 954 single parents using this service, paid no maintenance over the three-month period.

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The figures also show 39 parents only paid up to 30% of what they owed their former partner, while 65 paid between 30% and 60% of what was due.

The CMS is supposed to take money directly from someone’s earnings or their bank account if they try to avoid payment, and can eventually take them to court if necessary.

But between December 2020 and the end of March, overall arrears owed to children through Collect and Pay increased by £12.5 million.

Victoria Benson, Gingerbread's chief executive, said: "not only are single parents and their children forced to go without with many being pushed into poverty and debt, but it allows the continuation of economic abuse and control in abusive relationships."

The DWP said the fees were intended to provide both parents with an incentive to collaborate.

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