Maintenance Matters

Maintenance Matters was a campaign by Gingerbread to create a fair child maintenance system.

Why maintenance matters:

I recently found out about Gingerbread’s campaign, Maintenance Matters, and of course I had to learn more.

Here’s a copy of the letter I wrote via Gingerbread’s website. It’s adapted slightly from their stock letter; if you want to write your MP but don’t know what to say, the letter here does the hard work for you.

Dear Mr Jones, 

I am writing to you as a mother, an Accrington resident and as a supporter of Gingerbread’s ‘Maintenance matters’ campaign to tell you about the millions of unpaid child maintenance owed to parents in Hyndburn.

This issue affects me personally – I have not received any maintenance for my son for the last 10 years – since he was two years old.

My former husband currently serves as a town councillor and represents the Conservative party. He styles himself as a pillar of the community, and would hate to have his non-payment of child maintenance exposed publicly. Yet he is able to ignore the CMS because of loopholes and lack of enforcement action – when a member of local government is able to flout the rules so flagrantly, it is clear that there is a serious problem in society.

In Hyndburn there’s a massive £4.2 million of unpaid child maintenance owed to parents with care. Child maintenance helps provide the basics for children including food, clothes, and keeping a home warm.

As your constituent, I want your help to make the UK’s child maintenance system work.

We need a fair child maintenance that puts children first. Please help by:

• Signing Early Day Motion 575 “Gingerbread report on Child Maintenance Service”, which is calling for improvements to the child maintenance system including the collection of unpaid child maintenance debts:
• Writing to Minister Caroline Nokes at about the millions of unpaid child maintenance owed to parents.
I would also like to refer you to Gingerbread’s recent report Missing Maintenance:
I have remarried and am no longer a single parent, but this issue affects my family still. We should not sit back and allow an injustice on this scale to affect our children. Your support on this issue is important to all families.
Lee Balders

 My unpaid maintenance story

At the moment, I’m owed over £3000 in unpaid child maintenance, but that’s only for the last few years since I’ve pinned down a calculation. Imagine what I would be owed if the previous 7 years had been taken into account?
I’m a money blogger now because I’ve learned to be careful with money during my years as a single parent. My son has to live a frugal lifestyle, but he doesn’t suffer; his stepfather supports me and we do our best together. There are millions of children in the UK who do suffer as a result of unpaid maintenance.
Let’s work harder at creating a fair child maintenance system that works.
Read more of my child maintenance posts here.

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