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The Scottish Government has announced a £320m package of support for businesses, that includes:

– 75% business rates relief at smaller retail, hospitality and leisure properties.

– Relief that will effectively reverse the inflationary increase in business rates due in April.

– £80 million to support small business sectors with grants of at least £3,000 – further details on this will be announced soon.

– Established an advice hotline for businesses 0300 303 0660. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

The situation is closely being monitored by the Scottish and UK Governments and advice and any new support will be announced daily as the situation changes.




Marion Fellows, Motherwell and Wishaw MP and the SNP’s Westminster Small Business spokesperson, has this week encouraged local small businesses to enter into the Federation of Small Business’s 2019 awards.

Businesses of less than 250 employees can enter into a number of categories including Micro Business (less than 10 employees); Start-Up and Scale-Up Business; Family Business; Young Entrepreneur (aged under 31); Community Business; Digital Innovation of the year and more.

Nominations are free and close on 11 January 2019 for Scottish businesses with category winners progressing to the UK Finals.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

There are some fantastic small businesses across Scotland, but especially in Motherwell and Wishaw. I would encourage everyone to consider entering to showcase and celebrate their achievements over the past year.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They deserve to have their contributions to society and communities recognised.

Taking part allows businesses the opportunity to reflect and build on the work they already do to encourage innovation.

There are a number of categories, so there is likely something for every business. Even making the shortlist is a great achievement. It’s also free and relatively easy to enter.

I hope to be celebrating alongside our fantastic small businesses next year!

For more information, go to




Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw and the SNP’s Westminster Small Business spokesperson, has called on the UK Government to ensure that the new contractor taking over from Carillion ensures subcontracts are maintained to ensure stability for small businesses and prevent job losses.

In a letter to Ministers, the MP said that “Carillion’s collapse has caused great uncertainty for many companies and their workers – especially SMEs”.

Mrs Fellows also said that the UK Government must provide assurances to companies that have already undertaken work for Carillion that they are paid for the work they have completed.

She was critical of Carillion saying affected companies should not “pay the price for Carillion’s mismanagement and greed which has the potential to create a black hole that sucks other companies with it into financial difficulty”.

Commenting, Marion Fellows said:

The employees and businesses, particularly SMEs, need reassurances. It is not good enough for the UK Government to simply allow people to face such financial uncertainty through an ideological obsession to not intervene.

It must be a mandatory stipulation that any new contractor must continue to the meet the agreements Carillion made with subcontractors. Many firms will be relying on the work they had planned as a subcontractor with Carillion and it must go ahead. If not, the future for many businesses and their workers is uncertain.

While the Official Receiver is currently assessing Carillion and trying to pay all contractors, the UK Government must still ensure that those who have carried out the work are paid for doing it.

The Carillion crisis happened on the UK Government’s watch and they must take a personal and moral responsibility to sort the problem.


Written Question: Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises

On 15 January, I tabled a written question with the UK Government asking what their target was for making payments to small and medium sized enterprises and what percentage of payments to SMEs were made within that time in 2017.

An answer is considered late if it is given two weeks after being tabled. It is now over three weeks.

I have since had to table another question to remind the Minister of their duties. I hope the UK Government has nothing to hide.

Cash flow problems are far more frequent and have a greater effect on SMEs than larger organisation. It is essential that larger organisations, the UK Government included, meet their targets and ensure those providing goods and services are paid for in a timely manner.


This Week: Recess Review

31 March – 17 April 2017

The UK Parliament is an incredibly busy place when it is in session. However, there are often recesses throughout the year. From the 31st of March until the 17th of April, the Parliament was in its Easter recess hence why, if you keep an eye on what Marion’s up to through the “This Week” feature, you’d have perhaps noticed no updates over the period!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the Motherwell & Wishaw MP has been sitting with her feet up in front the telly! Far from it – Marion has been incredibly busy over the past weeks working hard on casework in her Dalziel Building office, planning for the coming months back at Westminster, and being out and about in the constituency, talking to local people, assisting with issues, and meeting local charities, organisations, and businesses.

Here are some of the highlights from a busy summer back in North Lanarkshire:

Marion took the opportunity of a rare Monday evening home to address Motherwell and Wishaw branch of the Scottish National Party.

Marion had a fantastic trip to Daiwa Sports Ltd, located in Netherton Industrial Estate, meeting with General Manager Jim Robert and spending some time learning about such an innovative, forward-thinking, and successful manufacturer located within the constituency.

The MP attended the Dedication of a Victoria Cross Commemorative Paving Stone in memory of Cambusnethan man William J Milne VC, who received the Victoria Cross during the 1st World War.

Marion visited HMP Shotts to discuss changes made to Prison Officers’ pensions and to learn more about the work they undertake.

The MP was delighted to attend the The SPFL Trust’s Trusted Trophy Tour’s Fir Park stop yesterday afternoon, celebrating the fantastic work done by the club’s Community Trust.


Reminder: Funding Information Event



As I’ve mentioned already here on my website, this Friday, in conjunction with Big Lottery Fund Scotland Lanarkshire Team – I am holding a Funding Information Event!

When: Friday 24th March – from 11AM until 2PM!

Where: Craig Suite, Dalziel Building, Motherwell, ML1 1PN

Who: SportScotland, The Robertson Trust, Children In Need, Tesco and the Lanarkshire Big Lottery Team themselves!

SO – why not pop along! This event is an opportunity for Community Groups to meet Face to Face with a selection of Funding Organisations to get support and guidance!

We will also have available Application Forms and Information Literature for other Community Grant Funders who could help!

We are keen that this event is seen not only as an Information Event but as a Networking Opportunity for Organisations doing amazing work right across our communities!

This truly is an event for everyone! Looking forward to seeing you there!


This Week #45

27th February – 5th March 2017

On Monday, Marion was back to London for another busy week as the Member of Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw.

On Tuesday, Marion undertook a busy day of parliamentary duties, meetings, and briefings, as well as speaking during the debate on Intergenerational Fairness in the Chamber:

Wednesday brought with it the usual Education Select Committee and Prime Minister’s Questions, as well as a chance for Marion to meet Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs as part of the Marie Curie ‘Make Every Daffodil Count’ campaign – helping provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MP encourages local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin, available from volunteers across the country, or Superdrug, Spar and Poundworld stores, during March. Morrisons supermarkets will also be holding GDA fundraising collections on 10, 11 & 12 March.

The charity is also calling on more people to help with local collections. Volunteering a couple hours of your time will make such a difference to the care and support that Marie Curie can provide.” For more information about volunteering for a local collection call 0800 304 7025 or

On Thursday, Marion delivered a fantastic speech for International Women’s Day, drawing both laughter and reflection:

I have been absolutely inspired by what I have heard this afternoon. In fact, I have rewritten my speech a good deal as I have been sitting here, but I am going to do the one that I originally started with. When I was asked to take part in the debate, I was also asked whether I could give the perspective of an older woman. I resisted for all of about 10 seconds, because I have now fully embraced my age.

A mother gives her child the best future she possibly can. She teaches her children what her mother taught her. My mother was born in 1919 and was an intelligent, caring woman who only wanted what was best for her three daughters, but she was raised in a time when men ruled. One of her favourite expressions to me was, “Marion, hen, don’t argue with your father. Just know that you’re right.” I could never take that advice and I frequently argued with my father, but I could only actually do that when only he and I were there, because he still had to be seen as the man of the house, and as untouchable and unarguable with it.

My husband was raised by his mother and four older sisters, although women are still a complete mystery to him. His mother insisted that George did not have to do any housework. Why should he? He had four sisters; I have heard frequently over the past 46 years how they felt about that. Many years later, he actually said to our daughter, “Rachel, why haven’t you tidied up?” My daughter said, “Why haven’t you asked my brothers that?” And he said, “Because you’re a girl.” I am not denigrating my husband—I actually asked him whether it was alright to tell these stories, because he knew I was going to do it anyway—but I just want to point out how much progress has been made in this regard. My husband would be horrified and absolutely heartbroken if his granddaughters did not receive equal opportunities and pay, and equality across the board. This is how progress has been made. It has not been easy and it is still ongoing work, but we have made progress in the Fellows household.

I have personally been discriminated against in my lifetime. I secured an exciting new job setting up jobcentres across the east coast of Scotland in 1974. When I phoned to confirm the final arrangements for starting, I mentioned I was pregnant and was told, “Goodbye.” I never started that job. It is vital that the kinds of tests that I had to face are never, ever revisited. Although there are laws to protect us, it is attitudes that matter, and attitudes have to change.

When I started working, I actually got equal pay with the men I worked alongside in Midlothian County Council. However, when I was a councillor in 2012, before I entered this place, I found myself on a member-officer working group on equal pay. The women on North Lanarkshire Council who did the best and worst jobs—home support assistants, lollipop women and all that—had fought for 10 years, but only when they went to a woman lawyer, Carol Fox, was their claim finally made. That should not happen.

I realise that I do not have much time left, but the one thing I want to say is that this is not about me, my family or the UK. I went to last night, and I want to say, here and now, that I fully support its “Poverty is Sexist” campaign. It is vital that we educate women across the world. I quote the African proverb:

“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family” and a nation. Let us do that. Please Minister, let us make sure that there is absolutely no cut to what we give to women internationally.

Marion was back in the constituency on Friday, hosting her monthly surgeries in her Dalziel Building office. Beforehand, though, Marion attended the Dementia Friends Training session at Alzheimer Scotland to meet the volunteers and trainers helping those suffering from Dementia in our local communities.

Marion was also able to take the opportunity on Friday to announce her newest initiative – joining the Lanarkshire Big Lottery Team to host a Funding Event later in the month.

On Saturday, Marion was present at Wishaw Library for another drop-in surgery, before heading to Edinburgh for the Scottish Government’s International Women’s Day celebrations.



I’m delighted to share with you a Funding Event that I have organised in conjunction with THE LANARKSHIRE BIG LOTTERY TEAM which is being held this month!

When: Friday 24th March – from 11AM until 2PM!

Where: Craig Suite, Dalziel Building, Motherwell, ML1 1PN

Who: Range of funders from SportScotland and Children In Need – to – Tesco and of course The Lanarkshire Big Lottery Team themselves! And more to be confirmed!

SO – why not pop along! It doesn’t matter if you’re an existing community group or a fresh new group who wish to make a difference. This event is for everyone!



Last week, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, met with Head of Commercial Development in Scotland for the Start Up Loans Company (SULCo), Isobel Brown, to find out how to encourage and support local entrepreneurs.

The Start Up Loans Company offers loans, advice and support to aspiring businessmen and women across the UK.

Since being set up 4 years ago, the company has lent over £250million helping to create over 40,000 businesses. In Motherwell and Wishaw, 40 loans have been made to the value of £154,531.

The MP has said there are also a range of other organisations willing and able to offer their services and support businesses and entrepreneurs.

Local success story, Jo Chidley from Overtown, took part in the scheme and founded the Beauty Kitchen. She now makes and sells “100% effective, natural, everyday luxury beauty products” online and from a store in central Glasgow.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“When I was first elected as the MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, people wanted me to create jobs and combat poverty. I have formed the Poverty Action Network to link together local bodies whose aim is to curb the effects of poverty. I now want to bring together organisations that can help create jobs so that people can be lifted out of poverty.

“Many people have a great idea for a business but are unable to access traditional sources of finance or do not have the expertise or knowledge on how to achieve their idea. Teaming up with SULCo will provide all of that and put people on a path to success.

“Existing businesses can also benefit from SULCo’s and other organisations’ services to assist them in expanding and growing.

“Hopefully this can assist in getting more businesses into the empty units on our high streets – particularly in Wishaw. Although many businesses start small, they provide income to the area and could potentially grow to employ a team of people.

“My office is currently planning an advice and funding event in the near future to spark the constituency’s entrepreneurial spirit. But if anyone requires any guidance in the meantime, I encourage them to get in touch with my office.”


This Week #42

30th January – 5th February 2017

Monday saw a return to London after the weekend as Marion travelled to Parliament for a week of meetings, briefings, and debates.

In the evening, Marion spoke in the debate on changes in the U.S. immigration policy, saying:

As a child, a long time ago, I listened to my parents with little understanding when they talked of their lived history. As an adult, I listened in shock to my father when he told me that he had helped to liberate a concentration camp. He told me that only once and never spoke of it again. In spite of the Foreign Secretary’s outrage at the repetition of references to the holocaust, I feel absolutely no shame in linking my family to what happened then and to what is happening now.

My grandchildren will wonder how I felt after this Executive order was signed and what effect it had on people in Scotland, the United Kingdom and across the world. I am able to record in Hansard that I feel fearful, upset, distressed and very, very angry. My condemnation of this vile act will matter little in the great scheme of things, but I expect the UK Government to utterly condemn this Executive order. I do not expect the Foreign Secretary to tell me, as the Foreign Secretary did, that he has mitigated it as far as UK passport holders are concerned. That is his duty. If this Government think that trade with the US matters more than the human rights of refugees and world citizens, then I feel even more affronted. If this Government want to be a world leader, they should show leadership and they should do it now.

On Tuesday, Marion attended a number of meetings and briefings at parliament, and was present as Dougie McLean played to mark the official renaming of ‘Caledonian House’.

Wednesday saw the usual agenda of various meetings and Prime Minister’s Questions, with Marion summing up during Westminster Hall debate on Maintained Nursery Schools Funding, saying:

Let me just say that, as a former councillor, I know how partnership nurseries work in Scotland—the local authorities help to fund and give their expertise to privately funded nurseries—and perhaps the Minister would like to think about that. What is needed is political will. I urge her to take on board what she has heard this morning and make the changes necessary to retain maintained nurseries in England.

In the evening, the Motherwell and Wishaw MP was a Teller as the UK Government voted to drag Scotland out of the EU against the expressed will of the Scottish people. The democratic deficit in the UK is now as stark as it ever has been with only one Scottish MP voting for Brexit.

Scotland was promised that our access to the EU would be secure in the UK and that Scotland would be an “equal partner”. It is apparent that this was a lie.

The Scottish Government has outlined a number of compromises to keep Scotland in the single market. However, The Tory Government refuses to listen. As a result, Scotland’s economy and social fabric will be torn apart. The UK Government must respect Scotland’s will.

On Thursday, Marion had a busy schedule of parliamentary business, including speaking during the consideration of the Armed Forces Covenant Report 2016, saying:

The Scottish Government give veterans priority access to low-cost housing through the low-cost initiative for first-time buyers, and provide schemes to help with deposits for private renters. In addition, they have awarded £1.3 million of grant funding to the Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association—another mouthful—to build new homes, 25 of which are now complete across six local authority areas, to support impaired ex-service personnel. I am delighted to tell the Chamber that I pass 10 of those new homes every time I visit my constituency office in Motherwell and Wishaw.

The Scottish Government support applications to the education support fund and encourage veterans and personnel to grasp the opportunities that the fund could give them. As an ex-further education lecturer, I have had practical experience of teaching service personnel —mainly those who were still serving but were committed to leaving the forces and preparing for civilian life—and I have to say that I found them all to be both committed and diligent.

In Scotland, the most obvious and far-reaching differences found by personnel leaving the services concern the provision of public services, most of which have been devolved to the Scottish Government and are now delivered by local authorities and NHS Scotland. It is almost inevitable that everyone leaving the military in Scotland will need to engage with those organisations as part of their personal transition process, whether about their health, housing, education or employment.

Marion’s contribution can be found in full here.

Friday saw a return to the constituency for Marion, as she met ith Head of Commercial Development in Scotland for the Start Up Loans Company (SULCo), Isobel Brown, to find out how to encourage and support local entrepreneurs.

The Start Up Loans Company offers loans, advice and support to aspiring businessmen and women across the UK.

Since being set up 4 years ago, the company has lent over £250million helping to create over 40,000 businesses. In Motherwell and Wishaw, 40 loans have been made to the value of £154,531.

The MP has said there are also a range of other organisations willing and able to offer their services and support businesses and entrepreneurs.

In the afternoon, Marion held her monthly Dalziel Building surgery, meeting constituents in order to assist them with any issues they may be experiencing.