Errant parents could have driving licence seized

By staff

Parents who fail to pay their child support could have their driving licence and passport seized, under new legislation proposed by government.

This measure is part of the welfare reform bill and will allow officials from the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) the power to take the documents without the need to go to court.

James Purnell, work and pensions secretary, said: “We are supporting parents in these tough times, but for those who choose not to support their own kids, we will not stand by and do nothing.

“If a parent refuses to pay up then we will stop them travelling abroad or even using their car. We want fair rules for everybody and that means giving people the support they need, but in return expecting them to live up to their responsibilities.”

Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat welfare spokesman, said: “This latest bill will have more talking tough, but we’ve heard it all before. What we really need is an efficient, effective system and this bill isn’t going to bring it in.”

The measures have been put in place to try and recoup the £4 billion in unpaid maintenance bills from errant parent.

A similar scheme has been successful in Australia and the United States of America.

At present CMEC can take money from a parent’s bank account and recover funds from a dead parent’s estate without the need of court approval.

The government has maintained that these measures will be a last resort.

The welfare reform bill is having its second reading in the Commons this afternoon.
the House of Commons today.