Children: Maintenance

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the level of child maintenance arrears built up by paying parents during the period in which the Child Maintenance Service has not been taking new enforcement action as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Where payments have been missed we have asked parents to report the changes via the self-service portal. In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, the Child Maintenance Service is updating cases with notified changes. Where payments have been missed the Service is taking action to re-establish compliance and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued.

Those found to be abusing the system are subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will pursue these, where appropriate.

The vast majority of CMS enforcement powers involve third parties, including Her Majesty’s courts, enforcement agents and financial institutions. The COVID-19 crisis meant that these third parties had to pause business. The CMS is now beginning to reinstate a full service and remains committed to working with these key partners to establish how best to restart enforcement activity.

The total amount of Child Maintenance arranged via the Collect and Pay service, and the amount of this that has not been paid, are published quarterly. The latest published figures for Child Maintenance Service are up the end of March 2020 and can be found in National Table 10 at the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-march-2020-experimental

Statistics containing data to June 2020 will not be available until the next publication, due on 30 September 2020.

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