19th April 2017


The UK Government’s Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has been accused of being in “crisis” and “failing single parent families” by SNP MP Marion Fellows.

The MP spoke in a debate yesterday (Tuesday) in Parliament demanding that the UK Government take radical action to overhaul CMS which replaced the Child Support Agency (CSA) in 2012.

DWP figures show that around £4billion of maintenance is owed to parents with care.

Despite focussing on the collection of current maintenance, since the launch of the CMS in 2012, nearly half of paying parents have been allowed to accrue arrears.

Parents who turn to CMS for assistance to collect their maintenance are then ‘taxed’ 4 per cent for doing so – including victims of domestic abuse and violence.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“CMS is in crisis and the UK Government is failing single parents and children across the UK. We must see a radical overhaul of the maintenance system.

“By disregarding old arrears and allowing new ones to accrue, the UK Government has allowed non-resident parents to renege on their responsibilities to their children.

“A culture of non-payment has developed. Parents are failing to make full and timely payments because the Child Maintenance Service is allowing them to. The UK Government is allowing them to.

“The system of charges also needs urgent reform. It is unacceptable for parents who turn to CMS out of necessity to be taxed for doing so. Children should not lose out on a single penny, pound or shilling for their parent’s non-compliance or if their parent is a victim of domestic abuse.

“Administration and communication from CMS to parents is also shambolic. Parents are passed from pillar to post and every time they call CMS.

“Insufficient, inefficient, and incapable. Our children deserve better.”