Youngster upkeep: 730,000 youngsters benefiting from record-breaking money increase | UK | Information
More than 730,000 UK children benefit from record breaking support from the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). The latest annual figures show that the payments lifted more than 100,000 children out of absolute poverty in 2017-18.
More than eight out of ten children who are helped by the support payments come from single parents.
Secretary of State for Labor and Pensions, Baroness Stedman-Scott, said: “£ 900 million is a huge sum of money and behind that figure are hundreds of thousands of children finally getting the support they need. I see too many cases where parents go to great lengths not to pay what they owe and too often leave their own children behind in poverty. We’ll step in and enforce the payment. “
CMS investigators have the power to deduct cash directly from income and seize funds owed for child maintenance if payment requests are repeatedly denied.
The Department of Labor and Pensions (DWP) cites the example of a father who earned more than £ 150,000 a year but refused to feed his child. Despite being named on the birth certificate, he ignored repeated requests for payment, denied being the child’s father, and withdrew from a DNA test he originally requested.
It was not until he was “forced to sell” a property he owned that he took responsibility and agreed to pay £ 40,000 and 34 monthly payments of £ 1,000.
The proportion of cases in which no maintenance is paid has halved in the past seven years.
The DWP states: “While many families are able to arrange the financial support for their children themselves, liars and fraudsters will in far too many cases do everything to evade their responsibility to their own children. This is where the Child Maintenance Service comes in. “
Sanctions that can be used as a last resort include sending parents to prison or being disqualified from having a driver’s license or passport.
The CMS is aware that many parents will have lost income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It can review cases to see if the amount paid should be reduced, and the period over which that income change is assessed has been reduced from 12 to two weeks.