Nearly half of North Herts parents fail to pay child maintenance under government scheme

Nearly half of single parents in North Herts have not been receiving child maintenance payments desp

Nearly half of single parents in North Herts have not been receiving child maintenance payments despite government scheme. Picture: LumineImages GettyImages/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nearly half of parents in North Hertfordshire who are required to pay their child maintenance through government intervention are still failing to pay their ex-partners.

The charity Gingerbread, which supports single-parent families, says that payments can lift single-parent families out of poverty and it is "simply not acceptable" that more than 100,000 children nationally are not receiving maintenance.

New figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 130 parents did not pay support due through the Child Maintenance Service's collect and pay scheme in North Herts between April and June this year.

Overall, the collect and pay scheme, which is implemented by the CMS when the parents cannot arrange the payments between themselves, covered 270 parents and 380 children in North Herts. The numbers in the data are rounded to the nearest 10.

The CMS is supposed to take money directly from these parents' earnings or their bank account if they try to avoid payments, and can eventually take them to court. Despite this, 48 per cent had not made any payment in North Herts.

Across Great Britain, 33 per cent of the 139,300 parents who had to pay through the collect and pay scheme failed to pay their child maintenance.

The CMS, which agrees payment of child support with parents, can alternatively calculate the amount of child support to be paid and parents can make the arrangements themselves - a scheme called direct pay.

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In North Herts, 590 parents made direct pay arrangements from April to June, covering 870 children.

Joe Richardson, research and policy officer at Gingerbread said: "We regularly hear from single parents who have battled long and hard, often without success, to secure child maintenance payments to cover the essential day-to-day costs of raising their child.

Tallulah Perez-Sphar, from the Department of Work and Pensions, said that: "We're committed to improving the way CMS works and we recently got new powers to tackle people who don't pay what they owe.

"Every day we use civil enforcement action to secure payments on behalf of children and the amount being arranged is up 20 per cent over the past year."