Alarming write-off of £3 billion uncollected child maintenance arrears

Jane Robey
Commenting on a new National Audit Office report (28 March) indicating some £3 billion in child maintenance arrears is considered "uncollectable", National Family Mediation CEO, Jane Robey, said:

"The scale of proposed write-off of unpaid child maintenance payments is alarming.

"Thousands of children up and down the country are deprived of a better quality of life as a result.

"Family based arrangements are by far the best answer when a relationship ends. But government intervention, by the way of child maintenance arrangements, is far less necessary than many people - including government Ministers - believe.

"Agreements can be made in family mediation, and we know they are much more likely to work for everyone involved, because parents themselves have had control of the vital finance decisions that shape so many aspects of their future lives.

"Parents who work together after separation focus their efforts on helping their children prosper despite their separation.

"The government is again missing a trick by not promoting greater use of family mediation, which would help save hundreds of thousands of pounds of precious taxpayers' money."

The National Audit Office report, Child Maintenance: Closing cases and managing arrears, can be found here.