MP calls for “root and branch” review of Child Maintenance Service

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

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows called for a “root and branch” review of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and for a “crack down” on enforcement of payments at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show CMS arrears rose from £966m to £973.4m between December and March.

Between the same months, £58.5m was owed under CMS’s Collect and Pay service– where CMS monitor and pursue collections – but only £40.6m was paid. A third cases, with the remainder only be guaranteed to have “paid some maintenance”.

The UK Government introduced new measures, such as confiscating passports, in December, but the DWP predicts that only 20 passports will be confiscated in the first year.

Last year, the UK Government wrote off £1.2bn of historic CSA arrears and are seeking to wipe out an additional £1.3bn instead of moving arrears to the new CMS.

Mrs Fellows said: “The UK Government has to crack down on enforcing payments to ensure children receive their maintenance rights.

“New powers are welcome, but when £973 million of arrears have built up under the Child Maintenance Service and we have heard stories from parents that service is rife with problems, from calculations to enforcement to customer service.

“A full root and branch review is needed to ensure fairness for both parents, but ultimately it is the children who are losing out.”