‘Deadbeat’ parents face being ‘banned’ from holidays abroad

So-called deadbeat parents who refuse to pay for their children’s care could be stripped of their passports as punishment.

Absent parents who hold passports would essentially be banned from taking foreign holidays and would be without a key piece of identification.

Government ministers are set to move forward later this month with plans to confiscate the travel documents from dads or mums who fail to provide for their children, it was reported.

The aim is to persuade absent parents to help pay for the costs of raising their children, with more than £2.5bn currently owed in unpaid child maintenance.

A final decision has not been made on the plans, but there no major obstacles were raised during an official consultation earlier this year, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Under existing rules, the Government can confiscate the driving licences of parents who owe child support.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions, which is responsible for child maintenance policy, declined to comment on the report.

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The spokesman said a report containing the results of the consultation process will be published "shortly".

Last week, Child Maintenance Minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC Radio 4 programme Money Box that confiscating passports could be an effective way to make sure child support doesn’t go unpaid.

He said: "Denying someone a passport means that they just can’t go on holiday and we think that’s the sort of power that might change people’s minds about whether to fulfil their obligations."

He added: "We do already have the power to take driving licences. But unfortunately that impacts somebody’s ability to work very often and of course, we’d like them to work so they can pay the maintenance."

Nearly all of the existing £2.5bn child maintenance debt was incurred under the disbanded Child Support Agency, with many of the cases involving children who are now adults.

It is estimated that the Government would have to spend £1.5bn to collect the old debt.

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