MP attacks child maintenance shambles as arrears top £4.5m in Motherwell and Wishaw

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows, has condemned the UK Government for failing single parent families and their inaction over child maintenance arrears.

In an answer to a recent parliamentary question the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery Caroline Nokes revealed £4.59 million of child maintenance debt is owed to single parent families within Mrs Fellows’s constituency.

Under the Child Support Agency, almost two thirds of paying parents with a current liability and arrears make no contributions to their arrears. Since December 2015, debt collections on these arrears has dropped from £35 per case to £22 in March of this year.

A report from child rights’ campaigners Gingerbread found between January and March 2016, one quarter of paying parents under CSA did not pay their full maintenance. Of this, two thirds paid less than half or nothing at all.

Mrs Fellows said: “The UK Government is failing single parents and their children.

“Child maintenance is an issue so many people come to me about, it is clear the system is shambolic and unfair. Parents to shirk their responsibilities allowing them to accumulate massive debts.

“The figures show the UK Government is even failing to ensure parents pay their current maintenance never mind their arrears. Maintenance is a vital lifeline on which children and single parent families rely.

“If the UK Government is serious about relieving child poverty, they will take action to ensure parents pay their maintenance in full, on time, and clear the shocking backlog.”