Parents face child maintenance ‘shaming’

Government ministers are expected to back proposals for a website that will “name and shame” parents who refuse to pay child maintenance.

The proposal is expected to be outlined in a white paper later this week. Other measures will also be detailed, such as the confiscation of passports and curfews for absent parents.

It is hoped that the public shaming would encourage parents to pay outstanding child maintenance, which currently stands at a national total of £3.5 billion.

A similar website has been used in the US and one in the UK could be set up quickly due to the lack of legislation online.

The proposal comes after it was announced in July this year that the child support agency (CSA) is to be replaced by a new body. Pensions secretary John Hutton said at the time that the new organisation would be “tougher on parents who do not pay up.”

There are concerns that funds owed to the CSA by absent parents will be effectively written off when the new system is introduced.

Commenting on the proposals, Chris Pond, chief executive officer of the charity One Parent Families, said: “We hope that the government’s forthcoming white paper on child support will introduce a far more generous change by enabling single parents on income support to keep all of any child maintenance they receive from the CSA or its successor.”

He added: “This single measure would at a stroke remove a further 90,000 children from poverty.”