£2.9 billion in child support arrears could be unrecoverable, according to government reportsCurrent affairsNewsPolitics & Social issues
According to the Department of Work and Pensions, £2.9 billion of a total £3.9 billion has been said to be “uncollectable”.
This amount is owed to parents who have been left to raise their child alone.
Despite ministers affirming that the debt would be forgotten, administrative and technical issues have led to slow repayments to concerned single parents.
Figures show that 1.3 million parents are still owed money by the child maintenance service, with many having waited years for payments.
Janet Allbeson of the single parent charity Gingerbread stated that the unrecovered money should still be top priority as further maintenance issues arise as a child matures.
She commented: “Children in some ways get more expensive as they get older and that money can make a real difference to a child’s future.”
She cited driving lessons and student loans as examples of what child maintenance money can go towards.
One victim of absent payment. Marianna Miles, is owed £12,000. Although her son is now in university, she still believes that the money will benefit him.
Ms Miles commented: “He’s a student so it could go towards his books and his food… and he’s learning how to drive. I’m the only person around to help him.”
The minister of child responsibility, Steve Webb, commented: “Of course everything cannot be a priority. We have been quite transparent… and we have made it clear that where there is a child still at school or being brought up – that is the first priority.”
Despite the backlog of payments, the Child Support Agency (CSA) has collected £1.2 billion in childcare payments over the last year; Webb stated: “Contributions towards child maintenance in the CSA are now running at an all-time high of 86.5 per cent.”