Child maintenance survey calls for higher payments from non-resident parents

By Rosa Beard - 25 June 2013

The British public believe that the government should set higher child maintenance payments, which should also be set and enforced, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey conducted by NatCen Research.

Despite the government planning to reduce its involvement in child maintenance arrangements, which will see parents encouraged to negotiate their own arrangements and pay a fee to use the Child Support Agency, 60% of those surveyed said that the law should set a minimum amount for child maintenance, rather than leaving it to parents to decide.

Co-author Caroline Bryson commented that the study ‘shows that the current statutory child maintenance system falls far short of public expectations, and the planned changes will move child maintenance policy still further from public opinion about what the State's role should be.'

The survey also indicates that the public believes that non-resident parents with higher incomes should pay a higher percentage of child maintenance. Co-author, Ira Ellman, of Arizona State University, said, ‘the data shows that the British public thinks non-resident parents with a good income should pay child maintenance at a level that would provide their children not just with basics, but with some of the amenities of a comfortable income.'

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