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To: Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Rachel Hickman

We ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to end all charges for the use of the Child Maintenance Service

Why is this important?

In June 2014, the Government introduced charges for using the Child Maintenance Service.

To apply for a maintenance assessment it costs £20.00, with no guarantee any maintenance will ever be received. To then have the maintenance collected, more charges are imposed on both parents. The paying parent pays an extra 20% on top of their maintenance assessment and the receiving parent has a further 4% of their maintenance deducted.

This means on an assessment of £100, the paying parent actually pays £120 and the receiving parent only gets £96, with the government taking a total of £24, not including the application fee.

So far the charges have totalled over £8.5 million and are rising to a staggering £1 million per month. This money should be supporting the future of children and going towards essentials such as clothes, healthy food, books, education and heating.

The charges are designed as a deterrent for using the Child Maintenance Service and it is feared that thousands of children are not receiving maintenance as a result. Even the government’s own research predicted 100,000 fewer parents would make maintenance arrangements because of the introduction of charges.

Where maintenance is received it is often at a lower amount, either because parents feel pressured to accept a lower payment rather than use the Child Maintenance Service and face charges, or because they use the service and have money deducted by the government.

The new system also puts extra pressure on relationships between parents, particularly when there is a history of abuse and/or violence.

Studies have shown how essential child maintenance is for lifting the growing number of children living in poverty out of that desperate and disadvantaged situation.

The charges are due to be reviewed at the end of the year so now is the time to call on the government to end this unfair tax on single parent families.

Sign the petition asking the Minister for the Department of Work and Pensions to end all charges for the use of the Child Maintenance Service.

Source: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/scrap-child-maintenance-service-charges

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