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Child Maintenance Arrears at £3.8bn

Over 50,000 men owe at least £30,000 each with a large portion of the debt being declared uncollectable.

Out of the £3.8bn worth of debt that the Child Support Agency has so far failed to collect, there are over 50,000 men who over £30,000 each in maintenance arrears for support of children from previous relationships.

The Child Support Agency brought in debt collection agencies to assist in the matter and try to enforce payment of the arrears but, so far at least, have only succeeded in collecting 6% of the outstanding amount.

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), which last year took over the Child support Agency (CSA), have resigned themselves to the fact that most of the debt is uncollectable but has no power to close cases without the agreement of the parent who has care of the child.

Pressure groups are calling on the commission to split the amount of debts into two – those that are collectable, and those that aren’t.

Janet Allbeson of Gingerbread, a charity for one parent families, said “It would be preferable to come clean and say, ‘This particular debt is not collectible any more.’ It would put a lot of lone parents with care out of their misery.”