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Child Maintenance Service: Effectiveness

Volume 682: debated on Monday 19 October 2020

What recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service in collecting child maintenance. (907694)

This Government have made clear their commitment to supporting both paying and receiving parents, especially during this difficult period. Around three quarters of paying parents are paying towards their liability. The Child Maintenance Service will continue to pursue all cases where appropriate, and I stress that anyone found to be abusing the system risks being subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers.

I am sorry to say that the Minister’s words do not sit with the experience of some of my constituents, who feel that the Child Maintenance Service has failed them in pursuing outstanding claims. I shall give the House one example. In an appeal against a CMS decision to the tribunal in February, it was discovered that a private pension had not been disclosed. The CMS should therefore have recouped the shortfall, but there was no contact until May. When the CMS was asked how much it would recoup for my constituent, she again heard nothing until she got a letter saying that the CMS was writing off historic debt and would not pursue it. That is letting that person down, not supporting them.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this issue, and I stress that those found abusing the system are subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers. The CMS will pursue these people, where appropriate. Our key partners are in communication with us to make sure that we secure the appropriate court dates for cases impacted by the covid-19 pandemic and that we are establishing our full and normal range of enforcement services. Where payments have been missed we are taking action to re-establish compliance, and I am happy to look at the issue for him.