The number of people who use the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has increased by 21 per cent, official figures reveal.
The CMS had 227,000 open cases in February, according to newly published data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This number has risen quite sharply since August 2013 when it was only 4,500.
As many as 215,400 children now benefit from the service, the government claimed.
The CMS was introduced in 2012 as a replacement for the Child Support Agency. It was designed as a way to encourage “separated parents to work together and set up their own family-based arrangements”. It was initially only available to families with four children. In July 2013 it was expanded to included families with two children and in November 2013 it was opened up to all families.
Last November the CMS was criticised by single parent charity Gingerbread. The organisation’s chief executive Fiona Weir said that the government had not taken the collection of arrears seriously and, as a result “children end up going without”.
However, the DWP claimed that seven out of every eight parents – 87 per cent – were paying money towards their children in February and that this number had remained steady throughout the previous year.
Read the DWP figures here.
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