A Liberal Democrat MP has urged the government to scrap the
Child Support Agency and admit it “has been a fiasco from the
The move follows the release of figures that show the
organisation has written off £2bn in uncollected child
Liberal Democrats’ work and pensions spokesperson Steve
Webb said: “The continued failure of the Child Support Agency
means that hundreds of thousands of children are not getting the
financial support that is theirs by right. It is mind-boggling that
uncollected payments of £2bn can be simply written
According to figures compiled by the party, fewer than one in
three parents on income support receive maintenance from
non-resident parents and the typical weekly maintenance grant of
£20, which was introduced in 1990, has not risen despite rises
in the cost of living.
Webb said the Inland Revenue should have a greater role in
assessing and enforcing maintenance payments.
But the Child Poverty Action Group has described Webb’s
proposals as “premature”, arguing that a chance should
be given to the new system of assessing maintenance grants which is
due to be brought in.
Under this, non-resident parents would pay 15 per cent of their
income in maintenance.
CPAG director Martin Barnes said: “The Child Support
Agency does have an appalling record but the new scheme should not
be written off before it has been introduced.”
– Child Support Reform – Liberal Democrat Proposals can
be seen at www.libdems.org.uk