Campaigning SNP MP Marion Fellows has urged the UK government to provide an additional standard payment for parents-with-care not receiving child maintenance support (CMS) after a rise in child poverty in the UK and the economic impact of Coronavirus.

The MP for Motherwell and Wishaw issued the call after being contacted by a number of parents-with-care in her constituency desperate for help due to non-resident parents paying reduced CMS payments – as low as £7 per week or National Insurance Level – or no payment at all due to the Coronavirus crisis.

The SNP has proposed that where parents-with-care haven’t been receiving their maintenance or receiving a reduced payment, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) top up payments up to a minimum maintenance amount.

Mrs Fellows has consistently campaigned to make CMS fairer and urges the DWP to make this move without delay to ensure children are shielded from the worst of the Coronavirus crisis economic impact.

The SNP has already urged the government to increase Child Benefit and scrap the two-child cap – two key actions to ensure children do not slide into, or further into, poverty and hardship. Statistics released yesterday show that child poverty in the UK is no longer rising in Scotland.

Commenting, Marion Fellows MP said:

“A child’s tummy cannot be filled on £7 a week or whatever the National Insurance Level equivalent is – it is vital that the UK government introduce a standard rate CMS payment to ensure our children are not forgotten amidst this pandemic.

“Many non-resident parents’ incomes have been hit by the outbreak of COVID-19 and are trying their best to support their children. Some, however, are using it as an excuse to stop paying all together. The UK Government must step in to prevent either of these circumstances impacting on children.

“I welcome the steps the UK government has already taken to address the economic impact of this crisis – and thank all the governments in the UK for working flat out to address it. But as my colleagues and I are finding out daily, there is more work to be done and a standard rate CMS payment will go a long way to achieving that.

“If you are experiencing financial hardship there are places you can go for information and security nets out there to help you – including Universal Credit, the Scottish Welfare Fund, and your local representatives. I would urge people to find out what they are eligible for through the Scottish and UK government websites and apply immediately.”