£2.9b children fund inaccessible in UK

BILLIONS of pounds owed in child maintenance may never be recovered, government accounts show.

The money is owed by absent parents who have been referred to the Child Support Agency.

Accounts prepared for Parliament by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) class £2.9bn of the £3.9bn in maintenance arrears as “uncollectable”.

Ministers said the focus was on debts for children still being brought up, but old debts would not be “forgotten”.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) was set up 21 years ago with the aim of ensuring that if a relationship broke down, a parent could not just walk off and leave an ex to pay the costs of bringing up their children.

The CSA’s role was to calculate maintenance – and ensure that non-resident parents paid up.

But it has been dogged with problems. Computer systems did not work properly. Mistakes were made with assessments and absent parents were not tracked down.

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