Single parents living in Ashton-under-Lyne are owed £4.6m in unpaid child maintenance, figures published today by Gingerbread reveal.
The money is owed to single parents living in the constituency by their child’s other parent, but which the CSA has failed to collect on their behalf.
Local MP Angela Rayner is backing the Gingerbread campaign to improve the child maintenance system, and ask the government to take action to collect unpaid maintenance.
The government is closing the CSA, and all CSA arrears are being transferred to the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
Parents with children who have a CSA case will have to reapply to the CMS if they want their CSA arrears collected. Gingerbread has found that, as the CSA winds down, the agency is doing even less to collect on the huge debts that have built up.
Meanwhile, it is unclear how much effort the new CMS is making to collect former CSA arrears which have been transferred to it so far.
Nationwide, the average child maintenance debt owed to more than a million families who use the CSA is £2,067, money that could make a huge difference to families’ lives.
Angela Rayner 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.
"Child poverty in single parent families is set to double in the next four years, so it’s even more essential that this money is collected.
“The CSA and its successor the CMS should be doing all they can to ensure that families get the financial support they are owed.
"They have many powers at their disposal but in reality both are slow to act when parents don’t pay and single parents are left shouldering the costs of raising a child alone.
“Families in Ashton-under-Lyne need a child maintenance system that is fit for purpose.”
Less than half of single parent families in the UK have any child maintenance arrangements in place.
To support Gingerbread’s child maintenance campaign go to www.gingerbread.org.uk/maintenancematters.