The amount of uncollected child maintenance in Britain now exceeds £3.8 billion, the BBC has claimed.
The figure, highlighted on Victoria Derbyshire show, is based on collated government statistics and dates back 23 years. An estimated 1.2 million parents with care of their children are currently owed child support payments by their former partners.
According to the programme, the majority of the backlog was accumulated during the notorious Chid Support Agency (CSA) era. The government began a phased closure of the CSA in 2012 but no less than £93 million has reportedly already built up under successor organisation the Child Maintenance Service.
Janet Albeson of single parent charity Gingerbread described the figure as a “huge, startling number”.
“People can’t quite believe it, and do a double take. And it’s money that’s built up over a long time.”
She called on the government to pay compensation to parents with care of their children who have lost out.
“They shouldn’t just be able to walk away and say it’s history when it’s due to their errors and their poor practice that money hasn’t been collected. That’s wrong and the government should pay for that.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson insisted that the government was actively pursuing child maintenance debts, adding that under the current system 90 per cent of non-resident parents “are paying towards the money owed“.
The parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee is expected to publish a critical assessment of the CMS next week.