Whiteford has concern over child maintenance changes

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Banff & Buchan MP and SNP Work & Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford has spoken of her concerns over changes to child maintenance payments which could see children lose out on support.

Thousands of letters are to be sent to single parents in the UK informing them of changes to their child maintenance arrangements. The UK Government wants parents to agree their child maintenance agreements “amicably” or face a charge. The charges will be introduced later this year, and all single parents will be charged an upfront fee of £20 for registering with the new service.

The Scottish National Party has raised concerns in the House of Commons about the impact of these Child Maintenance changes on families where amicable agreements are just not possible. This could be because one parent may be willing and the other may not or in cases where there has been domestic abuse and violence prior to the family break up.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said: “Child Maintenance issues for parents in Banff & Buchan feature regularly in my casework, particularly where there are issues of non-payment where the non-resident parent can clearly afford to pay but won’t take the responsibility.

“While most parents who have separated manage to agree child maintenance arrangements, some parents find this impossible. However, children still need support and to take a percentage of the payments that are meant to support children is just wrong.

“These changes will make it harder for parents who take care of the child to secure support from non-resident parents, and may lead to child maintenance agreements which are unstable. The bottom line is that children will lose out on the support they need.

“It is particularly concerning in situations where domestic abuse has occurred, as it would clearly be distressing for somebody to feel forced into dialogue with an abuser.

“Once again we are seeing the UK Government implementing policies that are disproportionately affecting those who need support the most.”