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Government proposes benefit cut for parents of truants

06/10/2015 Joanna
Parents could see their child benefit reduced if their children play truant and they do not pay the appropriate fine.

About four in ten fines for mothers and fathers in England whose children miss school currently go unpaid. 

The prime minister therefore believes this money could be claimed in the form of a benefit cut if the parents have not paid up within 28 days.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, David Cameron said: "All the evidence is that if children consistently miss school, they get a worse education, they get worse results, and as a result they have less good prospects for the rest of their lives."

He argued that using the benefits system to obtain the money owed by parents of truants will help to ensure children get the "great start in life that they need".

However, the idea has been criticised by teachers union NASUWT, which said cutting benefits would "increase the chaos" and "deprivation" in some families.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the body, commented: "It won't actually solve the problem and in the middle of all of this is a child who's not getting their entitlement to education."

Parents of children who play truant are currently required to pay a £60 civil penalty. Non-payment after 21 days will see the fine increased to £120, while mothers and fathers can be prosecuted if the money is outstanding after 28 days.

However, many local authorities are not actually pursuing legal action against many parents, which means some are escaping court for not paying their fine.

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