16th April 2018


Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, last week held six surgeries around the constituency giving advice and assistance on Universal Credit and women’s state pension age increase.

Surgeries were held in Wishaw, Motherwell, Forgewood, Craigneuk, Gowkthrapple and Bellshill.

The MP and her team gave advice on Universal Credit – the new welfare payment which consolidates Housing Benefit, Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, and Child and Work Tax Credits in one lump payment.

UC has been criticised for cutting entitlement, stalling payments for five weeks, and for changes not being clear – including that Housing Benefit is included and must be paid by claimants to their landlord.

Similarly, the WASPI women (Women Against State Pension Age Increase) were encouraged to take part in the campaign by writing to the UK Government.

WASPI volunteers were also present to offer assistance in calculating how much money women will lose as a result of the UK Government’s changes to pensions. 250,000 women in Scotland are affected with some expected to wait six years longer for their pension and lose up to £45,000.

Commenting, Marion said:

It was great to get out in the constituency and speak to people about these important issues that will impact many peoples’ lives.

New claimants of popular welfare payments in the constituency will now have no choice but to claim UC. It is therefore essential that they know about the changes and how they will be affected.

The UK Government is forcing families to choose between heating and eating and it is unacceptable. The Scottish Government’s Scottish Welfare Fund is one of the many resources people can use to get support.

UC is fraught with issues – especially the five week waiting period and sanctions – but people must know that help is at hand.

Similarly, the women affected by the UK Government’s state pension age increase must take action. The WASPI women have not taken the changes lying down. Pensions are a contractual right – not a benefit – and I have been inspired by the fight they are making to secure that right.

For assistance with welfare payments, WASPI or any other MP matter, people can contact Marion’s office (337191 or marion.fellows.mp@parliament.uk). Alternatively, people can contact Welfare Rights offices (Motherwell – 332100; Wishaw – 348200; Bellshill – 346666) or the WASPI campaign at waspiglas73@gmail.com.