Christine’s campaign for changes to CSA payments will go to the Government

A CAVERSHAM woman is spearheading a call to the Coalition Government to change errors on Child Support Maintenance calcuations which is leaving estranged single parents in severe financial difficulties.

A two-year campaign by Christine Dugdale, a member of Caversham Heights Methodist Church, was recently picked up by members of the national Methodist Confernce, which met in London earlier this month.

As a result of the vote, a letter will be sent by the President of Conference on behalf of all Methodists calling for the Government to rectify the errors. The Church says that enormous financial stress comes to separated parents with low paid jobs. Most will have few if any qualifications.

“This is a very significant and ongoing problem which will only get worse if the regulations are not changed,” said Christine, who is delighted that the Church has picked up on her campaign.

She said: “I could not have hoped for anything better.”

Christine had picked up a lot of research as she has spearheaded the campaign.

Responding to article about a suicide inquest 29 April 2013 in the Daily Mail, a separated parent wrote: “I’m in a similar situation, and while my ex takes both of our kids on numerous holidays every year and to every theme park in the country, when it is my turn to have the kids I barely have enough money to buy them an ice cream. I feel alienated to the point that I think my kids think I don’t care enough for them, which tears me up inside.”

Back in October 2008 the BBC One programme The One Show produced this response from another separated parent: “I am left with £5 a week to live on … It’s actually getting to the point where I can’t see my boys. I can’t feed myself let alone them. So I lose out on seeing them and they lose out on seeing their dad.”

Currently non-resident parents have to pay the full CSA assessment if they earn more than £200 a week net of tax. This figure was set in 1998 and not indexed with inflation. The Memorial calls for this to be changed. Allowing for inflation, it should now be £298.28. The basic living wage for a single person is currently £273.86. (Centre for Research in Social Policy.)

In March 2012 there were 1,210,500 parents with CSA arrears and as of December 2012 there were 141,940 active Deduction from Earnings Orders.

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