Plans to give the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) greater powers have been opened for consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The new measures would increase the Service’s authority in the collection and enforcement of child maintenance debts. The new powers would include:
*The option to remove passports for up to two years from persistent non-payers.
*The possible inclusion of additional sources of income in maintenance liability calculations – including revenue from capital, foreign earnings, assets and unearned monies.
*The ability to seize funds from sole trader and partnership business accounts to settle unpaid maintenance bills.
Also discussed in the consultation document are ways to deal with unpaid bills accrued under the old and notorious Child Support Agency. Some of this debt may be written off, it notes, as most concerns children who are now adults and enforcement of these historic debts could cost the government as much as £1.5 billion.
Caroline Dinenage is the Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance. She said:
“Our priority is to make sure parents meet their responsibilities to their children so we have been replacing the old CSA – which failed children over the decades – with a new system that is already working better for families. But we need to go further to ensure children get the support they need. That’s why we are consulting on a range of options, including tougher powers against parents who do not pay the child maintenance they owe.”
Read the consultation here. It will close on February 8.
Photo of DWP building in Leeds by Chemical Engineer via Wikipedia