Single mum-of-two launches petition to tackle loophole in child maintenance payments
PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 13 March 2020
A St Albans single mum of two has launched a campaign to highlight a loophole in the Child Maintenance Service which she says is leaving many single parents in poverty.
Sofia Reino-Pardinas, who has a daughter aged four and a one-year-old son, is calling on a review of how the service works to ensure it is fit for purpose.
She wants to address the service's lack of transparency, consistency and clarity when assisting callers; to ensure that ALL incomes from the paying parent are taken into consideration from the outset of claims; and to speed up the mechanisms to enforce payment.
She claims if one of the parents is self-employed or owns a limited company, then it is harder to prove their total income as they can decide how much to declare they are being paid, and make up the remainder in dividends.
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Sofia said: 'It is appalling that parents are forced to deal with a service that is clearly not fit for purpose and is letting so many people down - ultimately, these are single parents trying to raise their kids who are struggling to meet ends while their ex-partners, who are also the parents of these kids, are having the time of their lives and getting away with it.'
The charity Gingerbread, which supports the UK's single parents, has been campaigning for the CMS to be improved as payment is often not being enforced. It believes the inefficiency of this service is one of the key contributors to 49 per cent of single parent families living in poverty, despite the fact that 69 per cent of single parents work.
St Albans MP Daisy Cooper MP is supporting her case: 'Many single parent families rely on child maintenance payments to provide some financial stability but loopholes are letting down many of those most in need.
'The system must be fixed so that families know how long assessments are likely to take, that all real income is taken into account in calculating the payments, and that proper enforcement powers exist so any outstanding dues can be pursued. Payment avoidance has plagued the child maintenance system for years and it's time the Government took serious action.'
To sign her petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300281