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. Policy Exchange says that the government should 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.
The report estimates that there are up to 65,800 absent fathers who have been out of work for six months or longer. Because these men pay very little, the Child Support Agency (CSA), the body which is tasked with collecting these payments, has tended to put more emphasis on collecting child support from fathers who are working. This means that responsible fathers have ended up paying for their own children, and contributing through their taxes to the child support costs of other, less responsible fathers. These fathers should be made to work if they refuse to take financial responsibility for their children.