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Shropshire Star comment: It's the children who are losing out

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

One of the greatest responsibilities of all, and one shared by ordinary people worldwide, is the responsibility to bring up children, love them, look after them, and see to their needs.

Modern times have brought different permutations of family life to Britain. So the traditional concept of what once would have been considered a “normal” family – man, wife, and child or children – has been superseded by various models and arrangements, and the normality for many children is that they are being brought up by one parent while the other, for whatever reason, is either absent or only a bit part player in the process.

That does not dissolve what is almost like a moral contract in which those who have brought a child into the world together share the responsibility.

In other words, fathers cannot pretend it’s nothing to do with them and turn their backs.

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Pointing the finger at fathers is of course a generalisation, as mothers can also be absent, but the reality is that in most cases it is the mother who is left as a single parent and looking for financial support from the father.

Ideally, it can all be settled amicably for the sake of the child. Life, though, is not full of ideal situations, and if fathers won’t pay up, somebody needs to twist their arms.

The Child Maintenance Service collect and pay scheme takes the maintenance money whether they like it or not, and is working in most cases, which is the good news. But the bad news is that in a high minority percentage – not that far off half – the money is not forthcoming.

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In Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, and Powys, 41 per cent had not made any payment between April and June. In Wolverhampton, the percentage of non-payment was 44 per cent.

Perhaps it’s not that surprising considering the complexity and strength of feeling on all sides which surrounds issues like this.

However there is no getting away from the fact that it is the most important people in the equation, the children, who are losing out.

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