Absent Kingston and Surbiton parents owe over £2million to former partners


A new Child Support Agency report shows that these parents owe around £2.2million in unpaid maintenance to their former partners.


By Charlene Cole

Absent Kingston-Upon-Thames and Surbiton parents owe in excess of £2millon in unpaid child support to their former partners.

A new Child Support Agency [CSA] report shows that these parents owe around £2.2 million in unpaid maintenance; in Kingston and Surbiton alone a total of £3.9 million is indebted when combined with the money owed to the government.

The data for London shows that almost £370 million is owed in unpaid child maintenance arrears overall.

More than half of the total (£198.2m) represents money owed to parents caring for children; the rest is owed to the Government.

The arrears date back to 1993 when the Child Support Agency was formed and the totals are inclusive of punitive assessments imposed on parents who have failed to provide income details to the agency.

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller has promised serious action against those parents who have failed to financially care for their children.

She said: “These shocking figures underline the long-term failure of a system that has let down countless families.

“We are now taking tougher action against those who have refused to pay. All parents who are still owed CSA arrears can be assured that we will take all reasonable steps to recover this money for them.”

So far there has been an increase in the use of enforcement powers against parents refusing to pay.

The use of Deduction Orders has trebled across the UK since 2009, whereby money is directly removed from debtors’ accounts while since 2008 driving disqualifications for non-payment have risen eightfold.

Sally Russell, founder of parenting website Netmoms, said: “The figure owed of £3.9 million in Kingston is staggering – but it needs to be measured in the human cost as well.

“For each lone parent deprived of maintenance, there may be a child deprived of decent meals, clothing and items most families take for granted.”

She says that the organisation see a lot of families struggle to make ends meet and this can be especially difficult for single parent families.

“It’s important for children to have the best start in life and if the absent parent isn’t contributing, it’s the child that loses out. That seems very unfair, and it’s shocking to hear that such an enormous sum of money isn’t getting into the hands of those who in many cases so desperately need it.

“It’s always a tragedy when parents who create a life together then fight over paying for a child. We would urge any former partners to seek mediation to resolve this vital issue and ensure their children receive what they need.”

To avoid the conflict that comes with CSA involvement Ms Miller recommends that separated parents make their own family based maintenance arrangements where possible.

She said: “We’ve already committed £20 million for developing better co-ordinated local support services to help them do that. It will help the new state child maintenance service to concentrate more effectively on parents who deliberately cheat their children out of financial support.” 

The government has pledged a radical reform of the system to tackle the arrears in the city, promising to track down those evading their parental duties and to collect as much of the debt as possible.

The full statistical release can be viewed at:

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