Shocking reports in recent weeks have revealed that there have been increasingly large amounts of single parents left without the necessary CSA payments including, many in East Renfrewshire included.
As many people are aware, the CSA is designed to support the parent who cares for the children if a mum and dad split up. It aims to ensure that non-resident parent continue to pay towards their child’s upbringing, rather than leaving the entire financial burden on one parent. The money can be used on anything – from clothes to school lunches and even childcare.
Despite promises from the UK government that strong action, in the form of deduction from earnings or even a disqualification from driving, will be taken if payments are missed; recent reports suggest otherwise.
Nationally, £3.7 billion is owed to single parents as part of the CSA scheme, with many Scottish areas in particular badly affected. Here in East Renfrewshire alone, over £2.8 million is owed to single parents who rely on the CSA service as a necessary means of looking after their children.
Fiona Ward, of single-parent charity Gingerbread said, “at a time of real economic hardship for many families, this money is badly needed and could make a difference to children’s lives”. She further stated, “ultimately the responsibility for paying child maintenance rests with the non-resident parent, but the Child Support Agency has to do its job too in collecting debts and enforcing payment.”
Gingerbread has demanded immediate action is taken by the CSA. Namely, the charity is looking for more regular deductions from bank accounts from non-resident parents who refuse to provide necessary child support money. Also, the charity is demanding that parents with care be given a realistic timetable and action plan in order to ensure they are continually informed of any steps taken by the CSA.
Local MP Jim Murphy added to the criticisms by saying "I am sick of hearing stories about dead beat parents, usually dads, who walk away from their responsibilities to their own children. CSA payments are a necessary part of a child’s growth. Raising children is not easy, nor cheap, and it is shocking that so many single-parents have been left without the necessary child support payments. The need for action and change is clear and stronger action must be taken"