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One in three parents in Norfolk failing to pay ex-partners for child maintenance

PUBLISHED: 10:13 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:15 01 October 2018

New figures have revealed how many people in Norfolk have not been paying child maintenance. Pic: PA/Edmond Terakopian

New figures have revealed how many people in Norfolk have not been paying child maintenance. Pic: PA/Edmond Terakopian

New figures have revealed how more than one in three Norfolk parents who have their child maintenance payments controlled by the government are failing to pay their ex-partners.

Newly-released figures from the Department for Work and Pensions showed that Great Yarmouth and South Norfolk were the districts in the county where parents were least likely to be paying support.

In Great Yarmouth, there were 290 parents due to pay support through the Child Maintenance Service between April and June this year, but 42.2pc of those had their payments in arrears. That was down from 46.5pc over the previous three months.

In South Norfolk, there were 200 parents, of which 39pc were in arrears over their child support payments, up from 37pc on the previous quarter.

The best performance in Norfolk was in North Norfolk, where , of the 190 parents due to pay support, 28.6pc were in arrears, a drop on the 34.4pc for the three months before.

Just over one in three parents in Norwich were in arrears, with 33pc in West Norfolk, 35.4pc in Broadland. 34.7pc in Breckland and 38.1pc in Waveney.

The charity for single-parent families Gingerbread said the rate of noncompliance in Britain, about 38pc of the total, was “worryingly high”.

Sumi Rabindrakumar, research officer at Gingerbread, said: “These figures show that the government still needs to get to grips with unpaid child maintenance. Time and time again, parents come to Gingerbread frustrated by CMS inaction.

“This is not just about introducing more powers. The CMS must deal with cases more promptly and make better use of existing powers.

“With over £200m in unpaid maintenance, the government risks repeating the same mistakes as the old Child Support Agency. Without reform, too many children will continue to go without the support they deserve.”

This payment service, called Collect & Pay, is part of the Child Maintenance Service, which was set up in 2012 to replace the Child Support Agency.

The CMS can take money from a parent’s earnings or their bank account if they try to avoid payments, or take a parent to court.

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