A total of 3,700 fewer parents applied to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) during August than in May, single parent charity Gingerbread has announced.
The 38 per cent drop is linked to the introduction of fees over the summer, the charity claims. From June 30, parents making claims for child maintenance have been required to pay an application fee of £20.
The Department for Work and Pensions only predicted a 12 per cent drop following the introduction of the fee.
Fiona Weir is Chief Executive of Gingerbread. She urged the government to drop the charge, noting that only two fifths of the UK’s single parent families receive maintenance from the child’s other parent.
“We warned the government that the charge to access the new service could make this situation even worse. These early figures seem to confirm our fears.”
She also called on the government to publish information on the number of parents who make initial contact with the CMS, then go on the make their own arrangements.
“We don’t know yet whether the parents put off by the £20 charge are going on to make arrangements on their own, or are just giving up.”