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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Stone Leads Debate on Improving Child Maintenance Services

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The MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Jamie Stone, led a debate on ‘potential improvements to the Child Maintenance Services’ in the House of Commons.

The debate comes just hours after the Government published its response to the independent review of the Child Maintenance Service response to domestic abuse, conducted by Dr Samantha Callan.

Commenting, Mr Stone said:

“Ever since I started a Parliamentary Group on the Child Maintenance Services, my inbox has been flooded correspondence from people who do not know where to turn.

“The CMS is broken, and MPs can’t make it work for them on an individual, case-by-case basis.

“It is time for a complete re-examination of these services.

“I am pleased to see the Government taking on a few of the recommendations set out in Dr Callan’s review, namely giving survivors of domestic abuse the choice to use Collect & Pay so that they do not have to make direct contact with their abuser when claiming maintenance payments.

“However, there are still charges attached to Collect & Pay, and I would like to see these dropped so that survivors are not unfairly losing out on essential income for their children. 

“The CMS needs a fundamental overhaul. 

“That means introducing a proper and thorough understanding of domestic and economic abuse, establishing a fundamental link between the CMS and HMRC, and conducting an urgent review into the internal administrative efficiency of the CMS.

“Otherwise, it will continue to fail everyone, from Receiving Parents to Paying Parents, but most importantly the children of separated families.”

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