SNP URGE UK GOVERNMENT TO PREVENT CHILDREN SLIDING INTO POVERTY
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.”
MP MARION CONVENES PAN AS SCOT GOV BRINGS FORWARD NEW PAYMENTS
Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, today convened the Poverty Action Network (PAN) in Motherwell where the Scottish Government’s new welfare agency, Social Security Scotland (SSS), showcased their new services.
SSS announced earlier this month that the implementation of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Child Payment, intended to launch in 2021, is ahead of schedule and will be open to applications in Autumn 2020.
Low income families will be able to access £10 a week for every child aged 0-6 which will lift 30,000 children out of poverty. It will be rolled out in full to eligible families by the end of 2022, benefiting 410,000 children with £500 a year per child.
SSS is already providing support in Scotland through five payments, including the Carers’ Allowance Supplement delivering an extra £452.40 a year to 83,000 carers across Scotland.
Low income parents can also apply for three separate Best Start Grants to ensure young people get the best start in life in their earliest year.
Applications for the new Funeral Support Payment will open on Monday 16 September (2019). The eligibility criteria have been expanded making 40% more people able to claim.
SSS are liaising with groups across Scotland to see how they can best meet the needs of communities to build a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.
Commenting, Motherwell and Wishaw MP and PAN Chair, Mrs Fellows said:
“In contrast to the Tories’ despicable welfare regime attacking those most in need, the Scottish Government is building a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.
“The Scottish Government is already delivering support to people in need and will next year deliver another life changing payment to lift children out of poverty through the Scottish Child Payment. An extra £500 a year will benefit so many families across Motherwell and Wishaw.
“Support is being targeted at the most vulnerable people in our society. I am confident the new payments will go a long way in tackling child poverty locally and across Scotland. The Scottish Government will not allow children to be left behind.
“As more people transfer to Universal Credit, more and more incomes will be squeezed. Local groups and the Scottish Government therefore are doing more to mitigate against the UK Government’s austerity policies.”
20th – 26th June 2016
On Tuesday, Marion was busy at Westminster with meetings, briefings and other parliamentary duties. The Motherwell and Wishaw MP was also delighted to welcome visiting pupils from Taylor High School to the Parliament.
Tuesday also brought a response from the Exchequer Secretary to a written question on child benefit submitted by Marion:
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons the income of the highest-earning parent is used to assess eligibility for child benefit rather than the joint incomes of both parents.
Damian Hinds MP responded:
If the Government were to use total household income as the criteria for the High Income Child Benefit Charge on households, this would require collecting information of the incomes of everyone in each of the eight million households receiving Child Benefit. This would effectively introduce a new means test. The Government’s approach withdraws Child Benefit from those on high incomes, whilst having no impact on the majority of claimants.
On Wednesday, Marion was back in the constituency. In the morning, she took the opportunity to meet staff at Wishaw General’s Neonatal Unit, discussing a variety of issues including the Lanarkshire Breastfeeding Initiative.
Later in the day, Marion visited staff and pupils at Mossend Primary School before returning to her constituency office for meetings with local organisations.
Just cast my vote to Remain. I want to retain workers rights#EUreferendum
— Marion Fellows MP (@marionfellows) June 23, 2016
Thursday was, of course, the day of the UK-wide referendum on the European Union with Marion, like the majority of Scotland, voting to Remain.
Also on Thursday, Marion was honoured to attend a prize-giving ceremony at Clyde Valley High School before spending the rest of the night at the EU referendum count at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.
— The SNP (@theSNP) June 24, 2016