Doncaster children ‘missing out on £6m’ in unpaid child maintenance

Doncaster North MP, Ed Miliband

Doncaster North MP, Ed Miliband

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Doncaster children are missing out on nearly £6 million because the Government isn’t ensuring they get the money they are owed.

That is the damning verdict of new research which showed single parent families living in the Doncaster North constituency are owed £5.7m in unpaid child maintenance.

The cash is owed by the child’s other parent, but which the Child Support Agency has failed to collect on their behalf.

Doncaster North was ranked as the 14th highest area for unpaid child maintenance in the country.

The figures were released by single parent families charity Gingerbread, and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband has pledged to support their campaign to improve the child maintenance system and lobby the government to take action to collect unpaid maintenance.

A spokesperson for the MP said: “Mr Miliband has helped many of his constituents claim via the CSA the money that they are owed. He believes it is important that parents financially support their children and is happy to back this campaign.”

Fiona Weir, chief executive of Gingerbread, said: “Bringing up children costs money – they need clothes, food and a warm home – and both parents have a responsibility to contribute financially. The failure of the CSA to collect these millions of pounds of child maintenance means that children are going without and single parents have been left poorer.”

The government is closing the CSA, and all arrears are being transferred to the new CMS. Parents with children who have a CSA case will have to reapply to the CMS if they want their arrears collected. Nationwide, Gingerbread found the average child maintenance debt owed to more than a million families who use the CSA is £2, 067.

A spokesman for the department of work and pensions said: “In almost 90 per cent of cases, parents are paying the money owed. We have measures in place to ensure that no client will get lost when debt is transferred from the old system.”