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.”



I dropped into the Child Rights Alliance England and UNICEF’s event this week in Parliament to celebrate 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We must see the CRC enshrined in domestic law here in the UK to protect children’s rights and give them the best opportunities in life.




The Motherwell and Wishaw Poverty Action Network (PAN) was reconvened by local MP Marion Fellows on Friday and heard from One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) and other local groups on their work.

PAN was formed by Marion Fellows to allow local bodies to work together and learn from one another with the aim to tackle poverty and its indirect effects.

Local groups spoke about the work they were doing and heard about OPFS’s work in outreach to single-parents and their services in welfare inclusion, domestic abuse, employability, and family support. Single-parents can benefit from training, income maximisation, mental health support, and financial planning.

Mrs Fellows says the Scottish Government’s new Scottish Child Payment (SCP) will be “transformative” for families. By Christmas 2020, low income families with children under six will receive payments of £10 per week. The SCP is expected to lift 30,000 children out of poverty.

The Scottish Government will have also almost doubled free provision of childcare to 30 hours a week. Free childcare has already been increased to 16 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to 2 year olds from low income households.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“It was once again a pleasure to hear from OPFS and other local groups which are doing amazing work in our communities to tackle poverty.

“OPFS are engaging with these families and giving them the support they need to stay on their feet. Our children deserve the best start in life, and they are helping give it to them through comprehensive support.

“Incomes are being squeezed by the two-child tax credit cap Universal Credit’s five-week waiting time and cuts. This will make things especially tough for single-parent families who can only earn one income.

“For these families, the Scottish Government’s transformative Child Payment and extended childcare provision will give them the funds and opportunities to get into the workplace so they can raise their household income and give their children the best start.

“Unlike the UK Government, the Scottish Government is using its powers to create a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect.”




This week, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, has backed the Scottish Government’s annual national flu vaccination campaign and is calling on eligible people to get their flu jab ahead of the winter period.

Mrs Fellows has especially appealed to the parents of young children to trust medical experts and disregard false claims about the dangers of vaccinations.

Flu jabs are available to people over 65, pregnant women and children aged 2-5 years old will also be offered the vaccination at their GP practice, where 5-11 year olds will be vaccinated at schools during the autumn term.

Flu jabs are also being targeted at people with health conditions, including breathing problems, diabetes and heart and kidney conditions, which puts them at greater risk of flu.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“It’s important that people – especially parents – trust the medical evidence and get their flu jab. This is not only to protect your health and your children’s, but also to protect the health of people around you to prevent flu being passed to others.

“The lies online about vaccines and jabs are endangering children’s lives. With thousands of children being hospitalised by flu each year, it is important that parents take their children for their jab.

“Flu jabs are one of the great things about our National Health Service. It’s free and only takes a few minutes. Our NHS staff at all levels deserve our recognition and thanks for keeping us healthy, especially during the winter months.”


This Week #38

5th – 11th December


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


This Week #32

17th – 23rd October 2016


It was back to London for Marion on Monday, as she travelled south for another busy week in London, including delivering the Motherwell & Wishaw WASPI petition to the Parliament that night.



Wednesday brought with it the weekly meeting of the Education Selection Committee and Prime Minister Question’s, before an afternoon of meetings and briefings for the Motherwell & Wishaw MP.


On Thursday, Marion was present at a Westminster Hall debate on Social Work Reform, during which the MP brought a Scottish perspective to proceedings.

In Scotland, we implement something called “Getting it right for every child”, which is at the heart of everything we do that affects children. It is child-focused, it is based on an understanding of the wellbeing of the child and on tackling early needs, and it requires joined-up working, which is not necessarily happening in England. The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 absolutely embody the framework of “Getting it right for every child”.

I was at the recent Scottish National party conference when our First Minister made an emotional and heartfelt declaration about what she wants to do for Scottish children, but so much has already been done. There is also demand for children and adult mental health services in Scotland, and there are far too many children who are unseen and whose needs are unmet. Our Minister for Mental Health has taken on board the First Minister’s desire to push forward the needs of children—especially looked-after children—and ensure that their mental health needs are dealt with. For example, in the next five years, the Scottish Government will invest £150 million in mental health innovation. Some of that money will be used to cut waiting lists, but £50 million is specifically earmarked to support better access to child and adult mental health services.

The Scottish Government have also doubled the number of psychologists in the services. The Minister needs to look at that, because it is all very well having services, but if they are not accessible or if people—especially children—have to wait too long, further problems will be created that will have to be addressed using Government funds from other places further down the line. It is vital that we support our children across the UK, especially those for whom we are responsible as legislators. When I was a local councillor, I was a corporate parent, so I know about the responsibilities that many people have. It is vital that we properly look after children early in their lives so they do not develop greater issues.

You can read Marion’s speech in full here.

Thursday was also the day Marion announced the Christmas Card Competition she will be running for primary school aged children in the Motherwell & Wishaw constituency over the next month. You can read all about it, including how to enter, by clicking here.


On Friday, Marion spent the morning in London completing her Parliamentary duties for the week, before travelling north to spend the weekend in the constituency.