A few weeks ago, I wrote about the new Government’s plans to charge people who cannot come to their own child maintenance arrangements to use the CSA. This morning, Maria Miller, the Work and Pensions Minister gave a live webchat on NetMums. I was working, so I couldn’t get involved, but I went back later to see how it had gone. During the chat, Miller said this:
“Let’s be clear, we are bringing together two very different systems so every parent will have to make a decision as to whether they want to make their own maintenance arrangements or use the new statutory system. If parents decide to continue to use the new statutory system, because they want the extra enforcement powers that that gives them, then charges will apply.”
Miller and her Tory colleagues are still missing the point. You can’t make a decision to make your own maintenance arrangements when your child’s non resident parent has vanished. People who use the statutory system don’t choose to use it, they have to. This isn’t about families with loving parents who still want to provide for their children even though they are no longer in love with the parent with care. This is about dealing with people who wash their hands of the responsibility of parenthood and disappear. For children who desperately need the maintenance they’re entitled to, using the ‘extra enforcement powers’ of the CSA isn’t something their parents want to do, but something they must. They must not be charged for this service and the money they receive for their children must not be discounted.
Politics are a matter of opinion, but there really is no factual logic in this. I’m assured by the consultation team that all feedback is being listened to and considered, so please, if you think this is wrong, drop a quick note to: firstname.lastname@example.org before the 7th April deadline.
If you’re a single parent who needs the CSA, please let the Tories know your story, because right now they seem to think all one parent families are the result of an amicable split, where coming to an agreement about maintenance is an option. Don’t take this lying down, let them know that single parents are intelligent, articulate and passionate. Your children shouldn’t be punished because you don’t fit a myth, or fulfill a flimsy ideal.