Children losing out in maintenance arrears
There has been a sharp rise in the money owed by parents to the goverment body tasked ith collecting child maintenance, with the figure rising to over £87m.
Arrears have peaked considerably in two years with the total increasing from £80.7m in March 2010 to £87.1m in December 2011 while, in contrast, only £2.6m of debt was collected by the Department for Social Development’s Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division during the 2010/11 financial year.
Detailed figures released have shown that over a quarter (27%) of the 28,966 children entitled to receive maintenance payments through the child support system did not receive any money in the last three months of 2011.
Marie Cavanagh, director of the lone parent organisation Gingerbread NI warned that parents’ failure to pay is putting severe financial pressure on many low-income families, stating to the Detail: “Payment of maintenance is certainly not the panacea to eradicate child poverty but it does help to make people in need a bit better off and helps to relieve the impact of poverty.”