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Constituency Office to close over Christmas

Please note that my constituency office in the Dalziel Building, Motherwell will close on the evening of Thursday 22nd of December 2016, opening again on Wednesday 4th of January 2017.

During this period my staff and I will not be on hand to respond to e-mails or receive telephone calls. However, should you e-mail me or telephone my office and leave a message, someone will be able to deal with your enquiry in January.

If you are experiencing a local issue of some urgency the following emergency telephone numbers at North Lanarkshire Council may be helpful:

  • Environmental enquiries – 01698 403110 (including special uplifts and bin collection, road repairs, lighting faults, abandoned vehicles and pest control problems)
  • General enquiries – 01698 403200
  • Housing Repairs – 0800 678 1166
  • Gas/solid fuel heating repairs – 0845 606 1555
  • Homelessness – 0800 953 2424
  • Anti-social behaviour – 0300 123 1382
  • Social Work Emergency Service – 0800 121 4114

For more contact details on helpful organisations, also check out the Support section of my website.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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MP attacks child maintenance shambles as arrears top £4.5m in Motherwell and Wishaw

Motherwell Times

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows, has condemned the UK Government for failing single parent families and their inaction over child maintenance arrears.

In an answer to a recent parliamentary question the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery Caroline Nokes revealed £4.59 million of child maintenance debt is owed to single parent families within Mrs Fellows’s constituency.

Under the Child Support Agency, almost two thirds of paying parents with a current liability and arrears make no contributions to their arrears. Since December 2015, debt collections on these arrears has dropped from £35 per case to £22 in March of this year.

A report from child rights’ campaigners Gingerbread found between January and March 2016, one quarter of paying parents under CSA did not pay their full maintenance. Of this, two thirds paid less than half or nothing at all.

Mrs Fellows said: “The UK Government is failing single parents and their children.

“Child maintenance is an issue so many people come to me about, it is clear the system is shambolic and unfair. Parents to shirk their responsibilities allowing them to accumulate massive debts.

“The figures show the UK Government is even failing to ensure parents pay their current maintenance never mind their arrears. Maintenance is a vital lifeline on which children and single parent families rely.

“If the UK Government is serious about relieving child poverty, they will take action to ensure parents pay their maintenance in full, on time, and clear the shocking backlog.”

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Vacancy: Constituency Assistant

Constituency Assistant – Marion Fellows MP

Location: Motherwell and Wishaw

Salary: In Accordance with IPSA pay scales £17,550 (pro-rata)

Job Details: part-time, 15-20 hours (hours negotiable)

Constituency Assistant in the busy constituency office for Marion Fellows MP, your duties will be to assist and support the Office Manager and Parliamentary Assistants with day to day office tasks.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Dealing with standard queries from members of the public
  • Responding to enquiries by telephone and email
  • Photocopying, filing, record keeping and typing correspondence
  • Log all cases, monitor progress and ensure all identified actions are taken
  • Attending surgeries and other meetings as appropriate
  • Assisting with arrangements for events
  • Handling administrative arrangements for meetings with members of the public/MP surgeries
  • Liaise with external suppliers when required regarding office supplies
  • Manage and monitor incoming calls and enquiries
  • Opening and dispatching mail

Closing Date: Wednesday 4 January 2017

Interviews will be held in Motherwell on Friday 13 January 2017

The job is to commence as soon as possible after interview.

How to apply
To apply, please email a CV and covering letter, setting out why you’d like the post and how your experience matches the job description and person specification (no more than 2 side of A4).

Email to Office Manager, Fiona Fotheringham: Fiona.Fotheringham@parliament.uk

Due to an anticipated high number of applicants we will be unable to offer feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

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Scottish Government’s Brexit Plans

The First Minister has outlined the Scottish Government’s plans for keeping Scotland in the single market. With 62% voting to remain, Scotland has spoken resoundingly to stay in the EU and to protect jobs and investment. The UK Government has confirmed that this is not possible.

The Scottish Government believes the best way to build a more prosperous and equal Scotland is to be a full independent member of the EU. However, after the EU referendum the First Minister said she would explore all options to protect Scotland’s national interests.

By offering this compromise, the Scottish Government has created a detailed option for Scotland to stay in the single market. It is now up to Theresa May and her Government to listen to the will of the Scottish people just as she promised she would.

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This Week #39

12th – 18th December




On Tuesday, Marion was back in London with a busy day of briefings, meetings, and parliamentary duties at Westminster.



 



The Pre-employment protection of whistle-blowers debate took place on Thursday, with the Motherwell & Wishaw MP contributing:

The Scottish Government acknowledge and respect the need for whistleblowing and believe that procedures should be in place across the public and private sectors to support staff in raising any concerns in order to ensure that people can work in a safe and secure environment. Without whistleblowers, serious concerns may take longer to be noticed and rectified. Any proposals that strengthen whistleblowing procedures and help protect employees and service users across the public sector are welcome.

Robust whistleblowing procedures are in place across Scotland, including in our NHS, but the Scottish Government and the SNP support further reforms to protect and embed an honest and open reporting culture in which all staff have the confidence to speak up without fear and in the knowledge that any genuine concern will be treated seriously and investigated properly. All children and young people have the right to be cared for and protected from harm. The amendment will help with that and we support it.



 

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Bookies Gaming Machines

Wishaw Press: Motherwell & Wishaw punters lost almost £3.75m on bookies gaming machines

It is no surprise that bookmakers are conveniently placed in areas of high unemployment and poverty.

Westminster alone has the power to properly curb the ongoing exploitation these terminals allow. They have been shown to be detrimental to both impoverished communities and individuals.

The UK Government must ensure that local licensing authorities have the powers to limit the use of terminals in betting offices and to prevent their clustering in particular areas.

These machines are sucking money out of homes and communities while creating huge profits for gambling conglomerates.

We have been in a period of austerity for so long vulnerable people become desperate and the lure of a big win will often drive them to use these machines which promise so much but only increase profits for these businesses.

The UK Government must take action now.

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This Week #38

5th – 11th December


ThisWeekMon

On Monday, as a member of the Education Select Committee, Marion was keen to contribute to the debate on the Children & Social Work Bill, providing an excellent speech.

It is important that children are the focus of and are at the heart of any Bill that is introduced in this Parliament. We need to look at how children are affected by legislation introduced by not just the Department for Education, but Departments across the board.

In Scotland, the First Minister has said that people who have experienced the care system will be the driving force of an independent review of how Scotland treats its looked-after children. That is the mandatory duty in action. In Scotland, we want to move forward and to listen to young people, and we are looking at extending what is happening in Scotland to people who have been in care and are going through the process of becoming adults who stand on their own. It is good that the Bill looks at what happens to children after they leave care, but I ask the Minister to examine what we do in Scotland, because we are moving forward at a far faster pace than England and Wales.

Marion’s contribution can be read in full here.



ThisWeekTue


ThisWeekWed

On Wednesday, Marion had a very busy day of meetings, briefings, and parliamentary duties as she continues to work as hard as possible for the people of Motherwell & Wishaw.



ThisWeekThu

On Thursday, Marion was in the Chamber to quiz the Attorney-General Jeremy Wright MP on the consequences of the UK leaving the EU:

What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the protection of human rights in the UK.

Mr Wright replied:

The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of respect for human rights that long predates the European Union and that will continue following our withdrawal from it.

The Motherwell & Wishaw MP continued:

What existing human rights enjoyed by UK citizens under EU directives could not or should not be enshrined in UK law, if or when we leave the European Union?

Receiving the response:

As I hope I made clear in my first answer, I do not believe that human rights protections in this country are dependent on EU law. We will certainly look, in the course of the great repeal Bill and other measures that this House will have to consider, at how we transfer those obligations currently under EU law into domestic law where the House believes that it is appropriate to do so. I maintain the view that we will continue to protect human rights in this country. Moreover, we will continue to be leading advocates for human rights around the world.



ThisWeekFri

On Friday morning, Marion visited the Royal Mail Wishaw Delivery Office in Netherton Industrial Estate to meet with and thank staff during what is a very busy Christmas period. Following this, Marion returned to her constituency office to welcome the three winners of her 2016 Christmas Card Competition. Alfie Brown, Kian Oliver, and Morgan Carroll all received framed copies of their designs, a small number of the cards for their own use, and some additional prizes.

In the afternoon, Marion hosted her monthly constituency office surgery, meeting with local people to discuss concerns and assist with any issues.



ThisWeekSat

Marion spent some time at the grand opening of Forgewood Community Centre on Saturday, meeting staff and volunteers at what was a very successful event. In the afternoon, the Motherwell & Wishaw MP was keen to drop by and donate to the Christmas Toy Drive taking place at Fir Park ahead of the Motherwell v Kilmarnock match.

toydrivebThe initiative, organised by the MFC Podcast & the Well Society, was a fantastic success thanks to the great generosity shown by both Motherwell and Kilmarnock fans.

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LOCAL CHILDREN SPREAD CHRISTMAS CHEER AT MP’S OFFICE

CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION WINNERS VISIT MP MARION

Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, has welcomed three artistic school pupils to her constituency office after they were victorious in the MP’s 2016 Christmas card competition.

Inviting entries from primary schools throughout the constituency, Marion had the challenging task of picking winning submissions from Infant, Junior, and Senior categories, with Alfie Brown (Keir Hardie Memorial Primary), Kian Oliver (Orchard Primary), and Morgan Carroll (Sacred Heart Primary) being chosen for each category respectively.

Alfie, Kian, and Morgan visited Marion’s office in Motherwell on Friday morning to meet the MP and her staff, and collect their well-deserved prizes.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“I was delighted with both the number and quality of the submissions I received. There is no doubt that we have many incredibly talented, creative, and artistic young people in Motherwell, Wishaw, and Bellshill.”

“I had a fantastic time looking through the designs and selecting the winners, a task which although enjoyable was also made very difficult by the number of great entries.”

“The wonderful designs by Alfie, Kian, and Morgan will now be used for my 2016 Christmas cards, sent both by post and electronically to friends and colleagues throughout the country.”

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Forgewood Community Centre Grand Opening

I was delighted to attend the Grand Opening of Forgewood Community Centre on Saturday.

Big thanks to all the staff, volunteers and organisations who made the event such a success.

Half Signature

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Christmas Toy Drive Success

A big well done to The Well Society and MFC Podcast who hosted a Christmas Toy Drive at Fir Park on Saturday.

Thanks to the fantastic generosity of supporters of both Motherwell and Kilmarnock, over 500 toys were collected for distribution to children in our local communities.

A wonderful display of both Christmas and community spirit.

Half Signature