Nearly half of Harrogate parents are failing to pay their child's maintenance fees

More than 40 per cent of parents who have their child maintenance payments controlled by the Government in Harrogate are failing to pay their ex-partners.

Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 11:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th November 2018, 11:29 am
Nearly half of Harrogate parents are failing to pay their child's maintenance fees. Credit: Radar

Newly released figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that around 220 parents were due to pay support through the Child Maintenance Service in Harrogate between April and June 2018, but 43.5 per cent of them had their payments in arrears.

But the number of parents with payments in arrears in Harrogate is down from 47.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

The charity for single-parent families, Gingerbread, said the rate of noncompliance in Britain is "worryingly high".

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Around 38 per cent of Britons who are expected to pay child maintenance through the service do not keep up with payments.

This payment service, called Collect & Pay, is part of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which was set up in 2012 to replace the Child Support Agency.

The CMS can take money from a parent's earnings or their bank account if they try to avoid payments, or take a parent to court.

Sumi Rabindrakumar, Research Officer at Gingerbread, said: "These figures show that the Government still needs to get to grips with unpaid child maintenance.

"Time and time again, parents come to Gingerbread frustrated by CMS inaction.

"This is not just about introducing more powers. The CMS must deal with cases more promptly and make better use of existing powers.

"With over £200 million in unpaid maintenance, the Government risks repeating the same mistakes as the old Child Support Agency.

"Without reform, too many children will continue to go without the support they deserve."

At the start of this year, the best performance was in the Orkney Islands, in Scotland, where only 22.7 per cent of parents failed to pay.

The poorest record was in Tandridge, the South East, where 51.7 per cent of parents did not meet their obligations to their children.

The Child Maintenance Service can also calculate the amount of child support to be paid and parents can make the arrangements themselves without the direct control of the Government - a mechanism called Direct Pay.

In Harrogate, 530 parents made Direct Pay arrangements from April to June 2018.

At the end of June 2018, three quarters of paying parents in the CMS in Britain were using Direct Pay and a quarter the Collect & Pay Service.