Unpaid child maintenance backlog in UK is ?3.8bn
There is a UK backlog of more than ?3.8bn in uncollected child maintenance payments, figures have revealed.
The money is owed by non-resident parents and has built up over 23 years, with figures showing about 1.2 million people are owed child maintenance.
The Department for Work and Pensions said a new system was "actively pursuing" unpaid child maintenance.
But Janet Allbeson, from the charity Gingerbread, called for parents waiting for money to receive compensation.
Janet Allbeson, from the single parents charity, Gingerbread, said powers to collect child maintenance are "very seldom used", saying CMS was "a very blunt instrument".
She said the uncollected figure was "a huge, startling number".
"People can't quite believe it, and do a double take. And it's money that's built up over a long time."
The charity says there should be compensation, paid by the government to children and their families who have lost out.
"They shouldn't just be able to walk away and say it's history when it's due to their errors and their poor practice that money hasn't been collected. That's wrong and the government should pay for that," she says.
"At the moment there are still questions to be asked about how much effort is being put into chasing those who choose not to pay, and we don't think as yet they've got that right, and there's more that needs to be done," Mrs Allbeson added.
The Department for Work and Pensions said: "We actively pursue non-resident parents to recover unpaid maintenance and we are transferring existing arrears from the CSA to the CMS.
"The new system is designed to encourage parents to come to their own family-based arrangement."
It said in 90% of cases, parents "are paying towards the money owed".
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