OVER a third of parents are failing to pay their government-enforced child support, new figures show.

Over the first three months of 2018, 41.8 per cent of Slough parents who have their child maintenance payments controlled by the government failed to pay.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that 300 parents were due to pay child support through the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) in Slough, but 170 failed to do so. This is a drop from the last quarter of 2017, where 51 per cent of such parents failed to provide support for their children.

The Royal Borough was little better, with 42.5 per cent of such parents failing to pay.

The above figures only relate to government-enforced child support payments, as the majority of Slough parents simply pay child support to their child’s caretaker directly, through a system called Direct Pay.

But in cases when parents disagree over payments or have difficulty paying, CMS can intervene to ensure payments are made. Nearly 900 families in Slough required the intervention of the CMS service over the first three months of 2018 to resolve such difficulties. CMS can impose a system called ‘Collect and Pay’, which helps manage the payments and can take parents to court if they repeatedly try to avoid child support.

Gingerbread, a charity for single-parent families, said the latest figures for parents with outstanding child support debts are “worryingly high”.

Sumi Rabindrakumar, Research Officer at Gingerbread, said: “Child maintenance alone lifts a fifth of low-income single parent families out of poverty. But sadly, we regularly hear from single parents whose children are not receiving the support they are owed even when using the Collect & Pay service.

“With £200 million child maintenance debt already built up under this specific service, excluding any debts for the many who don’t use Collect and Pay, there’s a real danger of the government repeating the failings of the previous Child Support Agency unless they act now.

“The Child Maintenance Service must put in place stronger systems and resource to make sure that children do not go without the financial support they need.”