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Glenrothes and Central Fife MP, Peter Grant is backing single-parents and child rights campaigners who are seeking a judicial review into unpaid child maintenance.

Campaigners have called for a review of the Child Maintenance Service and for effective enforcement action to be taken in the collection of maintenance arrears – calls that have repeatedly been made by campaigning Mr Grant, who has also called for the introduction of a minimum maintenance payment.

DWP figures show that 43% of children covered by Collect and Pay – where CMS collects maintenance on parents’ behalf – are not receiving a penny of the maintenance they are legally entitled to. There are £354m of CMS arrears, yet just £31m has been collected through CMS enforcement actions – less than 10% of the figure that is owed.

The single-parent charity Gingerbread says that for families living in poverty, the proper payment of child maintenance could lift 60% out of poverty.

Commenting, Peter Grant MP said:

“For years, the UK Government has ignored warnings from myself and others that the Child Maintenance Service is totally unfit for purpose in the collection of arrears and that it requires a root and branch review. I’m glad that campaigners are taking the fight to the UK Government and seeking justice through the courts to get what they and their children are entitled to.

“This will be a moment of reckoning for the UK Government. They must heed our calls and introduce a Minimum Maintenance Payment now. Families must be guaranteed a dignified standard of living to prevent them being forced further into poverty, which is currently being exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.

“Arrears have been allowed to grow out of control and into hundreds of millions. Families have been forced to turn to foodbanks and into debt, with many having to choose between heating and eating. The abandonment of single-parents – the vast majority of whom are women – and their children has been unacceptable. The UK Government cannot ignore families any longer.”

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