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Fathers should face more pressure to pay child maintenance

A recent report has claimed that non-resident fathers on benefits should be put under greater pressure to meet their financial responsibilities with regards to their children.


The report – Father Figures – shows that absent fathers on benefits contribute £5 a week – less than a packet of cigarettes – in child benefit payments, regardless of the number of children they have with different mothers. The report gives the example of a 34 year-old unemployed man from Dundee who has fathered fifteen children with twelve different partners in the space of just sixteen years. 

The study, by think-tank Policy Exchange, calls upon the government to target these individuals and fast track them on to work experience schemes to try and get them back into the labour market. Men who refuse to participate should have their benefits removed.

Peter Saunders, author of the report, said: “Most fathers want to do all they can to help and support their children, even when they find themselves unemployed. But a minority persistently evade their responsibilities. This is unfair on their children, their former partners, other fathers who are doing the right thing, and taxpayers, who have to pick up the tab.

“Organising work activity for tens of thousands of men, many of whom may have forgotten or never learned routine work discipline would be expensive. In the longer term, however, such a policy should reduce the burden on taxpayers, by getting at least some of these men back into useful employment. If they refuse to enrol onto these work schemes then benefits should be withdrawn.”

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