Campaign group Fathers4Justice (F4J) today condemned government plans to introduce tough new child maintenance powers, saying there were self-defeating and would drive thousands of fathers and their children deeper into poverty.
Under the plans being introduced today by Child Maintenance Minister, Steve Webb MP, the Child Maintenance service will be will be able to share information about non-payment and arrears with credit reference agencies.http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-29903435
Refusal to contribute to their children’s upbringing could result in parents being declined loans, mortgages, credit cards or mobile phone contracts.
F4J says that misrepresenting fathers as ‘irresponsible’ is wrong when the CSA had previously accepted that 73% of fathers already pay and the majority of the rest can’t pay because they are unemployed or on income support.
The group say they want to see radical reform of the Family Justice and Child Maintenance system, and to see Shared Child Support and 50/50 Shared Parenting become the norm. They also want to see the government take into account both parents’ income and child support calculated as a percentage of the total, balanced according to the share of parenting time.
Said F4J Founder, Matt O’Connor, “Draconian measures which demonise and criminalise dads are self-defeating and are doomed to fail children and families yet again. How many low-paid dads will be able to feed and clothe their children when you switch off their credit?”
“The government has already broken its promises to introduce Shared Parenting for fathers. Now it’s insisting on continuing with a broken Child Maintenance model which has reduced fathers to the status of cashpoints.”
“Until Child Support means emotional and financial support, aggressively seeking to punish dads who can’t pay will drive thousands more fathers and their children deeper and deeper into poverty.”