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I am calling on local parents with experience of the Child Maintenance Service to share your stories with the Government spending watchdog looking into whether the Service provides value for money to the taxpayer.

The Child Maintenance Service was set up in 2012, replacing the now discredited Child Support Agency. The Service helps separated parents to make and receive maintenance payments where the parents have not been able to come to an arrangement privately, at a net cost of £146 million in the last financial year.

Although the Child Maintenance Service was specifically set up to address the well-publicised problems with its predecessor, it too has been plagued with issues and I welcome news of the National Audit Office’s investigation, and encourage constituents to share your experiences with the watchdog. You can access the online survey here.

For years Tory Governments have ignored warnings about the faults of the Child Maintenance Service. I have heard from countless constituents who have been failed by the system, whether they are single parents who have struggled to get the money they need to feed and clothe their children, or absent parents who are being pursued for sums of money that they clearly cannot afford.

The National Audit Office is looking into whether the Service is achieving what it is set up to do, the quality of service provided and whether it is good value for money for the taxpayer. I’m sure that lots of local parents will have experiences they wish to share, and I would encourage them to contribute to the online consultation.

The UK Government owes it to all of us to provide an effective and efficient system for ensuring parents pay what they owe, and most of all to the children who too often suffer as a result of the Child Maintenance Service’s failings.

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