Charity calls for an end to maintenance loopholes

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A new report by a leading UK charity has warned that some non-resident parents are exploiting loopholes in the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Analysis carried out by Gingerbread found that many individuals were taking advantage of holes in the current system, enabling them to pay a fraction of what they should.

The charity’s report concludes that the current situation is failing many young children who are, as a consequence, being denied the support they need.

There are also significant concerns that the CMS is failing to act on the complaints being made by parents about the problems they have encountered.

With this in mind, Gingerbread believes that it is incumbent on ministers to set out a new strategy to tackle payment avoidance.

Dalia Ben-Galim, the charity’s director of policy, said: “Up and down the country, loopholes in the child maintenance system are allowing parents to deny their children the essential support they need.

“Some are deliberately hiding their income, while others can perfectly lawfully escape with income or assets ignored; some are cash-in-hand labourers, while others are multi-millionaires.

“But in all these cases, single parents now have to collect evidence for a system that continually obstructs them. It’s not enough that they juggle being breadwinners and homemakers – they are now forced to become private detectives as well. Unless there is an urgent change, these injustices will continue indefinitely.”

Jane Robey, chief executive of National Family Mediation, welcomed the report.

She said: “At present the system encourages separated parents to play ‘cat and mouse’ with each other and with the CMS. The net result is poorer children.

“The report indicates a range of measures are used by some parents to deny their children support they’re entitled to.

“Whatever tactics they employ the outcome is poorer children, denied the support that is theirs by right at a time they most need it.”

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