Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary to demand a resumption of the services offered by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) as soon as possible.
Currently the Child Maintenance Service, for which the Department for Work and Pensions is responsible, has said it is not chasing missed child maintenance payments during the pandemic. Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham, Selly Oak) has raised concerns about the implications this may have for single parents, particularly those who have been victims of domestic abuse.
On the Child Maintenance Service Website it says, where possible, parents should communicate with each other to discuss payment plans. However this won’t happen in a number of situations and will not be possible for many parents who have suffered abuse from their ex-partner. The CMS makes clear that should a missed payment occur, it will not be chased. It means that in those situations where civilised communication is not possible, the parent with care of the child or children will be left to shoulder a significant financial loss at what already is a very difficult time.
Steve McCabe MP has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ask when the Child Maintenance Service will resume and to ask the Department to pay the missed payments and recoup it through an ‘attachment to earnings’ so that single parents are not left unable to cope.
Commenting on the situation, Steve McCabe MP said:
“I am utterly sympathetic to people who genuinely can’t pay because of current circumstances but all the more reason why the CMS needs to get in touch with such people but It is unacceptable for single parents, particularly those who have suffered abuse, to be left for months without Child Maintenance Payments and no support from the Government. Where this is a deliberate decision not to pay, it represents a further level of abuse. The current decision to not chase payments will be to the detriment of many parents and is likely to cause significant harm to children. I am calling on the Department for Work and Pensions to compensate parents, with care, if they are unable to chase non-payment and to recoup that money later.“