Current Campaigns


Every day, single parents call our advice line to tell us about the difficulties they are having with the CMS. They tell us that action isn’t always being taken to enforce payments and that by avoiding payments, perpetrators of abuse are able to continue to exert control over their ex-partners. 

The lack of enforcement by the CMS is directly linked to child poverty. One research study showed that if child maintenance were paid in full to all children in separated families living in poverty who currently do not receive financial support from their other parent, it could lift 60% of them out of poverty. 

Gingerbread has campaigned for years to make the system work better. With your ongoing support, we will continue to campaign so that children get the financial support they deserve. Our campaigns have resulted in some important changes. But with the total amount of unpaid maintenance standing at over £500 million, it’s clear that there is still work to be done. 

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Key progress we have made and next steps 

In October, we intervened in a High Court judicial review case about the child maintenance service (CMS). We were able share our expertise with the High Court on how the CMS works. 

The case is being brought by a group of single parents and the children of single parents who argue the significant problems with the CMS are causing them “significant and prolonged financial difficulties” and “pushing them into poverty”. They argue that the way the CMS operates, including the insufficient enforcement of payment obligations against non-resident parents, is discriminatory and unlawful. 

We now await the outcome of the case. Watch this space! 

The day before the legal case was in court, the Government announced a number of new commitments that reflect our calls for reform of the CMS: 

  • They are abolishing the £20 charge for all CMS users. 
  • They are changing the rules so that unearned income, such as savings, investment, dividend and property income is taken into account automatically when the maintenance calculation is made.  
  • They will consult on how the CMS collects and makes payments so it can act on non-compliance more quickly.  

We are expecting further detail on these announcements by the end of 2023. 

Looking ahead to a General Election

We’ve been working with all of the main parties on their policies on CMS ahead of the General Election, expected next year. At their conference, the Liberal Democrats agreed a welcome position on the CMS 

 We will continue to work with them and all political parties so that any new Government is supportive of the key changes we want to see. Watch this space for a survey we’ll be sending on what you think the priorities for a new Government should be. 

Other work

Gingerbread, along with other charities, recently supported two new Bills on the CMS to become law. These Bills aim to improve the situation for survivors of domestic abuse and to strengthen the enforcement powers of the CMS. 

We’ve given written and oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, and their report echoed our call to scrap the fees for Collect and Pay, notably for survivors of domestic abuse. 

Gingerbread also jointly provides the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on the CMS. An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is a group of MPs from all parties who meet together on a particular issue. Gingerbread helps to organise these meetings, which are online and open to the public. Please email to find out the topic of the next meeting and how to attend. 

New Report