Benefits to be docked for parents who don’t pay truancy fines
Parents of children who play truant will have their benefits cut if they fail to pay the fines, the prime minister has announced. Currently parents are fined £60 for their child’s truancy which is doubled to £120 if the fine is not paid within 21 days, and they face prosecution after 28 days. But with 40% of fines going unpaid David Cameron has said that the system must be changed as truancy can ruin a child’s chances in life. The new scheme will mean that parents who fail to pay truancy fines will have their child benefit docked automatically.
Figures show that 16,430 people were prosecuted last year for failing to ensure that their child attended school, with 9,214 parents paying an average of £172 in fines. The Government hope that the new measures will help councils with the financial pressure of pursuing legal action against parents, but councils could still be put under pressure to pursue fines through the court if parents earn more than £50,000.
Some fear that the new plans could end up being harmful to children, but David Cameron ensured that his plans would help children to get the best start in life.