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DWP release latest child maintenance stats

The vast majority of parents who use the Child Support Agency (CSA) are now paying for their children, according to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Parental financial responsibility is the norm

The figures show that the number of parents using the CSA who are paying towards their children has jumped in recent years – and now stands at almost 80%.

According to Minister for Child Maintenance, Steve Webb, the figures show that the UK is now a society where parental financial responsibility after separation is considered the norm.

"Wherever possible we want parents to work together for the sake of their children - not against one another. Supporting your children after a break-up is just what most parents do these days,” he explained.

Child maintenance figures

Responsibility for the child maintenance system in Britain rests with the DWP, which funds information and support for separating parents and runs the statutory child maintenance schemes, currently operated through the CSA.

The latest statistics from the DWP on the payment of child maintenance show that in the quarter ending December 2012:

  • The CSA live and assessed caseload stood at 1.12 million.
  • 79.5% of all cases in which maintenance was due had either received maintenance via the CSA collection service, or had a maintenance direct arrangement in place.
  • Maintenance had been collected or arranged by the CSA via the statutory maintenance service on behalf of 902,500 children.
  • The CSA collected or arranged £307.4 million in child maintenance (regular and arrears), of which £28.1 million was arrears.
  • In the year to December 2012, the CSA collected or arranged £1,214.9 million in child maintenance (regular and arrears), of which £112.4 million was arrears.
  • Uncleared work has decreased by 3,100 to 13,900. This represents a decrease of 18.2% since September 2012.
  • Outstanding child maintenance arrears have increased from £3.814 billion in September 2012 to £3.837 billion in December 2012.
  • At the end of December 2012, the average maintenance calculation was £23.80 per week (including zero calculations).

Response to the figures

Although the Government has painted a positive picture of the latest figures, single parent charity Gingerbread has been less welcoming, highlighting the fact that unpaid child maintenance in the UK has increased by £25 million to £3.837 billion.

CSA taking a ‘relaxed’ approach

According to Gingerbread, the problem is compounded by the fact that the CSA is taking less enforcement action against parents who fail to pay the required amount of child maintenance. The charity describes the CSA’s approach to collecting the full payment as ‘relaxed’.

“Despite government assurances that it is committed to ensuring that parents pay what they owe, the steady decline in the Child Support Agency’s arrears collection performance speaks for itself,” commented Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.


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