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Suicide Prevention Week

The past 18 months have been especially difficult and they have placed considerable stress on many. Suicide is preventable. We can all do our bit to look out for warning signs in those close to us. Even if those signs come and go, ask your friend, family member or colleague how they’re doing. Just talking about how we feel can lift a load. But there are several services that you or someone you know can turn to for long term, professional help.

Samaritans – 116 123 (24hr). Calls are free & confidential. For people experiencing distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide.

Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87 (6pm – 2am daily and 24hr weekends). A free and confidential phone-line service for any individual, who is experiencing low mood or depression.

For help and support for your mental health, speak to your GP or if out of hours, call NHS 24 on 111.

Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention App – search for SP Lanarkshire with your App store provider.

ChildLine – 0800 1111 (24hr). A free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK.

HopeLine UK – 0800 24 20 24. A free service for childen & young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide & for anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide.

Elament – for more focused supports and services, click here.

Lanarkshire Mind Matters – run by NHS Lanarkshire Adult Psychological Services. It aims to link you to mental health information, advice and help, wherever you live in Lanarkshire. Click here for more info.

There are more services available via my Health & Wellbeing Support Directory here.

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Education Qs: Supporting International Students and Universities against COVID

University of Stirling is taking steps to support international students from red list countries arriving for the new term to keep them and other students safe. The UK Government must provide financial assistance for all universities to replicate the good practice at Stirling.

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TORY GOVERNMENT BETRAYS SICK AND DISABLED AGAIN AND AGAIN

The SNP’s Disabilities spokesperson has described the UK government’s Health and Disability Green Paper as “long overdue but still lacking real ambition” to support those with disabilities and long-term illnesses.

Marion Fellows MP has said the Green Paper fails to address key issues affecting disabled people in the UK social security system including benefit sanctions, the payment cap within Access to Work, and accessibility of its Kickstart scheme – all of which the SNP has long called for.

After putting disabled claimants through years of degrading assessments, the UK government should use this opportunity to follow the Scottish Government’s lead by moving away from face-to-face assessments and taking a person-centred approach.

The paper also fails to acknowledge the higher costs that disabled people have faced during the pandemic, and makes no mention exploring the widespread calls from the SNP and organisations to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

Commenting, Marion Fellows MP said:

“This paper has been long overdue but is still lacking in real ambition. 

“The Tories at Westminster have been failing those with disabilities and long-term illnesses for years. A decade of brutal Tory welfare cuts, coupled with benefit sanctions, have had a hugely damaging impact on the living standards of disabled people – and now the impact of coronavirus and lack of a proper social security net is exacerbating that.

“The Green Paper was an opportunity to right these wrongs and finally offer the welfare and employment support that disabled people deserve and is already on offer in Scotland. The Tories have refused to take it.

“Scotland cannot keep waiting for Westminster to act – we can, and must, do better than this. The people of Scotland have made it clear that they want a fairer society – not a system that is disproportionately failing people with disabilities.

“The only way we can achieve that is with the full powers of independence.”

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June 2021 Newsletter

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MP URGES APPLICATIONS AS EU SETTLEMENT DEADLINE APPROACHES

Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has urged EU citizens to make their applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) as the deadline approaches on 30 June.

Those who do not apply by the deadline will lose their right to work, healthcare and public funds.

Mrs Fellows is concerned that a high number of looked after children are yet to apply which can cause serious implications for them if the deadline is missed.  

The Scottish Government has provided funding to Citizens Advice Scotland to support EU citizens living in Scotland in applying to the EUSS. Their team of specialist advisors can be contacted on their freephone EU Citizens Support Service helpline, 0800 916 9847.

SNP Parliamentarians have called on the UK Government to extend the deadline and improve the EUSS to ensure those people who have the right to reside are able to do so.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“EU citizens in Motherwell, Wishaw, Bellshill and across Scotland contribute so much to their communities, the economy and our public services. It is essential that all who are eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme apply before the deadline of 30 June so they can continue to make those valued contributions.

“Brexit has created an incredible amount of uncertainty for EU citizens over their lives, careers and families. SNP MPs have called for the deadline to be extended and the scheme to be simplified. But the UK Government has ignored these calls.

“Citizens Advice Scotland are providing support to those who need assistance. I urge all EU citizens who have yet to apply to do so as soon as possible. Scotland is your home and you are welcome here.”E

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FREE VIRTUAL FUNDING WORKSHOP FOR LOCAL CHARITIES IN MOTHERWELL AND WISHAW

Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, will take part in a virtual funding workshop, with People’s Postcode Lottery, for local charities, volunteer organisations, and community groups in Motherwell and Wishaw. The session will give good causes in Ms Fellows’ constituency advice on how they can apply for funds to make a difference in their community.

The live Zoom event takes place on 18th June at 10am.

More than £10.6 million, raised thanks to People’s Postcode Lottery players, funded thousands of community groups and good causes across Britain last year. Thanks to changes to the charity lottery regulations and increasing support from players, over 3,500 grassroots organisations will receive a share of an almost £17 million funding pot in 2021.

Over £59,000, raised by People’s Postcode Lottery players, has already made a difference to many small, local good causes in Motherwell and Wishaw.

Marion Fellows MP said: “During the pandemic, local community groups, including charities, have been a lifeline in so many ways. From food parcel deliveries to mental health support to befriending services. Local organisations have been vital, and I thank them for all their hard work.

“After an incredibly difficult year, I am glad to be hosting a funding workshop with People’s Postcode Lottery so that these organisations can continue to serve our communities. Their work is essential in our pandemic recovery.

“People’s Postcode Lottery is an excellent source of funding. I hope local organisations will come along to see how they can be supported in supporting communities.”

Head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, Laura Chow added: “The money raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery is making a huge difference in communities across the country.

“We want to do all we can to help local charities and good causes successfully apply – particularly at a time when many are losing out on essential funds. Our free virtual workshop is a useful opportunity for smaller, local charities and groups to find out about the funding available, get pointers on applying and ask us any questions.”

More than £700 million has been raised for thousands of charities and good causes, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

To attend contact funding@postcodelottery.co.uk by 17th June.

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SNP MP: TESCO’S FIRE AND REHIRE OF WAREHOUSE WORKERS “A BETRAYAL”

UK GOV URGED TO BACK SNP BILL TO PROTECT WORKERS’ INCOMES

SNP MP, Marion Fellows, has called for the UK Government to back the SNP’s Bill to ban fire and rehire as Tesco looks to slash Scottish workers’ wages.

Around 290 workers at Tesco’s Livingston distribution centre are being threatened with pay cuts between £4,000 and £13,000 by forcing workers to sign a new contract under fire and rehire practices.

The Livingston depot is one of five sites across the UK that Tesco are targeting with workers having until the 13th of February to accept the cuts or face redundancy.

SNP MP, Gavin Newlands, has submitted two Bills to Parliament to end fire and rehire practices. They have received the backing of cross-party MP and unions, however the UK government has so far refused to back the Bills.

Tesco’s profits soared by 29% in the first half of last year as pre-tax profit reached £551million. Tesco’s revenue increased by 0.7% to £28.7 billion, and sales in the UK and Ireland were up more than 8%.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“Any business considering betraying their workers through fire and rehire should be utterly ashamed. Especially during a pandemic and especially a business such as Tesco which has reported soaring profits. The UK government needs to protect workers by backing the SNP’s Bill to ban fire and rehire practices.

“The use of fire and rehire at Tesco is just one of the many cases emerging. Incomes and security are under threat. By allowing it to continue, the Tory government is putting itself firmly on the side of millionaires rather than the essential workers making the profits and serving communities.

“I have joined the calls of unions UsDaw and Unite for Tesco to withdraw their threats and get round the negotiating table. These workers have been absolutely essential during the pandemic. They deserve respect and a pay rise – not a pay cut. If Tesco does not, they are forcing unions into a corner with no other option than to strike putting supply chains at risk.”

Willie Thomson, Unite regional industrial officer, added:

“Unite’s members are shocked, angry and feel betrayed by Tesco. The workforce has been deemed essential workers throughout this pandemic and they have worked tirelessly to keep families across Scotland working as best as they can during this crisis. To be told that they are facing significant pay cuts and an ultimatum of ‘fire and re-hire’ in relation to their employment contracts is disgusting.

“Tesco’s actions are not only wrong but it’s an opportunist attack on our members. As a result of our members’ hard work Tesco’s profits have boomed during the pandemic alongside government rates relief which has further cushioned the company’s profits. Tesco must withdraw this ultimatum and come to the negotiating table, or we will have to explore all options if the company doesn’t willingly come to its senses.”

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SNP CALL FOR UK GOV TO SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH MINIMUM MAINTENANCE PAYMENT AND PROPER ENFORCEMENT

Today, SNP MP Marion Fellows has called for the UK Government to support children and “get a grip” of rising debt owed under the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

As of September 2020, recorded arrears have accumulated to £379.2m – 9% of all maintenance that should have been paid. Therefore, almost £1 of every £10 is not being delivered.

In her debate in Parliament today, Mrs Fellows called again for the UK Government to introduce a Minimum Maintenance Payment to provide parents-with-care and their children a guaranteed income. A call also backed by single-parent charity Gingerbread.

Mrs Fellows also repeated the SNP’s calls for a root and branch review of the CMS with an end to the 4% ‘Maintenance Tax’ on receiving parents where enforcement is required which taxed £33.3million from children in 2018/19.

The SNP also called for enforcement powers to be used to clear the debt. Since 2019, only three passports have been confiscated and no driving licenses.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The Child Maintenance Service is in crisis. There must be an urgent and root and branch review. Children are being forgotten by the UK Government during the pandemic when they should be the top priority. With arrears rising to £379.2m, the UK Government needs to get a grip of the maintenance crisis.

“A Minimum Maintenance Payment would ensure a dignified standard of living for children and prevent them facing hardship. A willingness from CMS to use the powers at its disposal will also deliver full and timely maintenance and clear the millions of pounds of debt.

“The UK Government also needs to end the punitive 4% Maintenance Tax on children. The CMS should be delivering financial support for children. Instead, they are taking food from children’s tables, energy out of their utility meters, and clothes off their backs.

“In stark contrast, the Scottish Government is using its devolved powers to deliver an additional £10 per week to families through the Scottish Child Payment, and also providing support through the Best Start Grant, the Baby Box and free school meals over school holidays.”

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VACANCY: Parliamentary Assistant (London)

Working for: Marion Fellows MP (Motherwell & Wishaw) 

Location: London

Salary: £27,000 – £33,000 

Job Details 

Key Responsibilities: 

– Analysing and interpreting data to ensure the Member is informed on key issues. – Assisting in writing external communications for the MP 

– Undertaking research  

– Attending and participating in meetings as required 

– Notetaking and compilation of briefing packs 

– General administration 

(This list is not exhaustive) 

The successful applicant will be self motivated, able to communicate with a wide range of  stakeholders and have the ability to work effectively within a small team. They must have  effective written communication skills and be able to adapt their communication style to suit different tasks and audiences. They must be able to analyse, evaluate and interpret  data and communicate results effectively. The successful applicant must also have  knowledge of current affairs and the political environment across the UK and Scotland. They  must also be competent using Microsoft Office Software.

Experience of speech writing and an understanding of Parliamentary procedures would be  desirable. 

If appointed you will be required to comply with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard,  undertaken by the Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO). See Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO) page for further info. Salary will be in accordance with IPSA guidelines

Consideration will be given to candidates who wish to work part-time or term-time. If you  are selected for interview please inform the panel of the days/hours you are available to  work. 

Closing Date: 30 December 2020 

Application Details 

Please send a CV and covering letter to marion.fellows.mp@parliament.uk A full job description is available on request 

Interview/Start Dates

Interviews will take place week beginning 12 January 2021. Start date to be agreed.

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ONE RULE UK GOV AND ANOTHER FOR EVERYONE ELSE