31 Mar 2011

Gingerbread, the charity which provides advice and practical support for single parents, was concerned about the government’s proposals to charge parents in need of child maintenance for using its child support service.

The Children’s Society is pleased to be one of 18 signatories who have joined the campaign, which will help stop financial and procedural obstacles being put in place to further exacerbate children’s disadvantages.

Since launching the campaign, more than 1,000 people have contacted their local MPs pledging their support. For further information, or to sign up to the campaign, please visit www.gingerbread.org.uk

Letter to Editor, The Times

Children at risk

Charging parents to use the child support service will exacerbate children’s disadvantages and increase vulnerability

Sir, The Government is consulting on plans to charge parents in need of child maintenance for using its child support service. Not only will they face an application charge of £100 (£50 if on benefit), but any child maintenance paid via the collection service will be reduced by ongoing charges of up to 12 per cent. With a week to go before the consultation deadline, we urge the Government to think again about its charging proposals.

While we support the Government’s wish to develop more support services to assist separated parents to co-operate, penalising vulnerable parents when their ex-partners do not contribute satisfactorily to their children’s maintenance does not resolve the issue of the reluctant parent, nor does it encourage them to make regular and consistent payments. It just exacerbates the child’s disadvantage and increases the vulnerability of those left directly caring for their children.

For the sake of the children concerned, the Government must reconsider.


The Right Rev Tim Stevens Bishop of Leicester; The Right Rev Nicholas Steward Reade, Bishop of Blackburn; Reg Bailey, Mothers’ Union; Bob Reitemeier, The Children’s Society; Fiona Weir, Gingerbread; Dr Katherine Rake, Family and Parenting Institute; Anne Marie Carrie Chief Executive, Barnardos; Alan Bean & Martha Cover, Co-Chairs, Association of Lawyers for Children; Linda Lee, President, The Law Society; Paul Ennals, Chief Executive, NCB; Gillian Guy, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice; Helen Dent, Chief Executive, Family Action; Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group; Satwat Rehman, Chief Executive, One Parent Families Scotland; David Allison, Chair, Resolution; Stephen Cobb, QC, Chairman, Family Law Bar Association; Philip Moor, QC; Amy Watson, Co-ordinator, Womens’ Budget Group