- 3 updates
"We haven't always provided a quality service" the Pensions Minister told Good Morning Britain, justifying today's controversial introduction of charges for Government assistance in collecting child maintenance payments.
Steve Webb MP likened the new fees to the prescription charge, promising a better service for parents' money.
The Government's new charge on parents using a state managed child maintenance payment system is "taking money away from children," Caroline Davey, Director of Policy at the single parent charity Gingerbread, told Good Morning Britain.
Ms Davey said: "The Government will generate millions from this. Some of that money, money for the Government, is being taken away from children."
Parents who use a Government service to chase their former partners for child maintenance are to lose a percentage of each payment.
From today, if the state manages their maintenance payments - through the Child Maintenance Service's 'Collect & Pay' facility - parents will see 4% deducted from their instalments.
The partner paying the maintenance will have to pay a 20% surcharge.
The introduction of the fee is designed to encourage separated couples to come to their own financial arrangements.
An alternative Child Maintenance Service system, "Direct Pay", can be used to do this for a £20 one-off payment.
The Department of Work and Pensions estimates that 39% of parents within the Child Maintenance System currently use the Direct Pay service.