£2 billion of unpaid youngsters help written off as 970,000 mother and father miss out

Ministers have written off £ 1.92 billion in child support owed by absent parents.

Officials say some debts are too expensive to track or computer systems cannot handle.

And a “reduced level of service” in the Ministry of Labor and Pensions has made the problems worse.

However, a report by the House of Commons Library suggests the loss could even be as high as £ 3.7 billion.

Labor MP Rupa Huq, chairman of the all-party single parent group, said: “Children suffer from the incompetence of the UK’s child benefit system.”

Jonathan Reynolds, secretary for shadow work and pensions, added, “It is wrong to write off unpaid child support.”

Jonathan Reynolds, secretary for shadow work and pensions, criticized the move

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According to a report by the Commons Library, 970,000 parents, mostly mothers, may have missed up to £ 2.5 billion owed to them – an average of £ 2,577 each.

And the study claims that taxpayers have paid £ 1.2 billion in benefits for 370,000 cases for which the government has taken responsibility.

Some of the debt written off dates back to 1993 when the disastrous Child Support Agency was founded.

The Child Maintenance Service replaced it in 2012, but arrears collection rates are only £ 1 per £ 370, the report said.

By last October, officials had given up collecting outstanding payments below £ 500 – and up to £ 1,000 if the money had been owed for 10 years or more.

The National Audit Office and the Gingerbread single parent charity said the government was not giving enough resources. Gingerbread also said the waiver of enforcement powers was “extreme negligence”.

Insisted that the numbers in the Commons study are “an overestimation of the outdated CSA system” and the debt was £ 1.92 billion, it added: “Almost £ 1 billion has been recovered last year. “

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