Now, Gingerbread, the charity that supports single-parent families, says the current system is not sufficient to deter parents from paying late or even under-paying.
The new figures, from the Department for Work and Pensions, show that about 410 parents in Bassetlaw were due to pay support through the Collect and Pay scheme between October and December last year, covering 560 children.
The government’s Child Maintenance Service CMS) is supposed to take money directly from these parents’ earnings or their bank account if they try to avoid payments. In extreme cases, it can take them to court.
However, despite this, 39 per cent in Bassetlaw did not make any payments -- up from 37 per cent the previous year.
Anant Naik, of Gingerbread, said many ex-partners felt frustrated by CMS inaction over outstanding payments.
He said: “These figures are a reality check for the government and prove that the CMS is failing huge numbers of hard-working single parents.
“Our research has revealed shortcomings in the system. Almost seven in ten single parents are being let down by Collect and Pay, meaning they are left to support their children single-handedly.
“Payment compliance must be more closely monitored, and transparent service-standards should be introduced.”
An alternative scheme is Direct Pay, whereby the CMS calculates the amount owed and allows parents to hand over the money themselves.
In Bassetlaw, 640 parents made Direct Pay arrangements from October to December, 2018, covering 920 children.