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The Guardian reports that more than 50,000 men owe at least £30,000 each in maintenance for children they had with former partners. In total, the Child Support Agency, charged with collecting this money, is short by a staggering £3.8 billion:

The agency brought in private debt collectors to try to enforce some of the outstanding arrears. But they have succeeded in getting payment of only 6% of the overdue money they were asked to pursue.

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The issue of unpaid child support has been given fresh focus by last week’s figures suggesting the government will almost certainly miss its goal of halving child poverty by 2010. According to Gingerbread [a charity for one parent families], 100,000 children would be lifted out of poverty if maintenance arrears were cleared.

Some women are also avoiding payments, but it appears that the vast majority of this debt has been created by men avoiding their responsibilities. And we’re lead to believe that single mums are the root of all evil.