Latest: Ramping up the pressure
What a whirlwind it’s been! For the past few months, we've been very busy making a big noise and, thanks to you, receiving a lot of attention with our child maintenance campaign Maintenance Matters. We’ve made great progress and are not planning on stopping anytime soon.
Maintenance matters is calling for a fairer charging system and zero-tolerance on non-payment of child maintenance. We’ve really ramped up the pressure and highlighted to decision-makers the issues facing single parent families. As a result of our success, hundreds of people have joined our demand for change.
We launched the campaign in September, with our concerns that the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is putting survivors of domestic violence at risk. The service as a whole has to get a better understanding of the support that domestic abuse survivors need. As it stands, children aren’t getting the financial support they should and survivors are being put in a vulnerable position. We worked closely with Women’s Aid to call on the government to provide better protection and support for survivors of domestic violence, and continue to work with parliamentarians and organisations to push for change.
In October, we revealed the millions of child maintenance debt owed to parents across the country. A shocking £4 billion is owed to parents, which the Child Support Agency (CSA) has failed to collect. Record numbers of you took action calling on MPs to stand up for single parent families. As a result, over 100 MPs are now backing the campaign, raising the issue in parliament and putting pressure on the Minister responsible for child maintenance to make the service fair.
Then in November, single parents Callie and Kim joined us in parliament to give oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) inquiry into child maintenance. (The WPC is a group of MPs who are reviewing the service and looking into ways the government can improve it.) Callie and Kim were really brave and talked about the challenges they continue to face securing child maintenance. Our policy expert, Janet Allbeson, also gave oral and written evidence to the WPC, and pointed out the complex and urgent issues facing single parents. The WPC will publish their findings in early 2017 so we’ll be keeping a close eye on what they have to say.
We’ve really come a long way in just three months. Child maintenance is now firmly on the political agenda. Thank you for your brilliant support.
It’s a tough battle campaigning to make sure that the child maintenance system is fit for purpose, but we will keep going. Together, we’ll continue to fight for a system that is fair and works for the UK’s two million single parent families.
Please help us build on our success and encourage others to campaign with Gingerbread.
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