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MP WELCOMES RECORD HEALTH SPENDING IN SCOTTISH BUDGET

UK GOVERNMENT “MUST DELIVER ON ELECTION PLEDGES”

Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has this week welcomed the Scottish Government’s budget which includes record spending of £15bn for health and social care.

But the Scottish Government’s has had to estimate its budget due to the UK Government setting its budget in March. Scottish Government Ministers weren’t notified of the UK Government’s budget day and found out after it was announced in the media.

Spending is based on commitments made by the Tories during the General Election. If the UK Government does not meet its election pledges, then the Scottish Government’s budget will have to be revised.

Key pledges include:

  • Record funding of £15bn for Health and Social Care – including £117m in mental health;
  • £800m and an additional £300m to build more homes beyond the 50,000 target of this Parliament.
  • £3.4bn – part of which will be towards the new Scottish Child Payment which will lift 30,000 children out of poverty.
  • £270m in rail investment and an extra £16m on concessionary travel.
  • £37m extra for Policing.
  • A real terms increase of 4.3% for local authorities.
  • For the third consecutive year, more than half of Scottish income tax payers will pay less tax than if they lived elsewhere in the UK.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The SNP Scottish Government’s budget has committed to invest in the public services we care, build the homes we need, and create the jobs and transport infrastructure that will allow North Lanarkshire and Scotland to thrive.

“The Scottish budget is set against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty and risk, created by the UK Government following their decision to delay the UK budget until March. These are based on commitments made during the general election. Boris Johnson must now deliver on these promises in full.

“The SNP is listening to communities and delivering on their needs. Our NHS and mental health services are being put to the forefront of our budget with record £15bn investment. The new Scottish Child Payment will lift 30,000 children out of poverty. More money is being invested in housing so we can exceed our already ambitious target of 50,000.

“This is a budget for all of Scotland which is being delivered through a fair tax system where for the third consecutive year, more than half of Scottish income tax payers will pay less tax than if they lived elsewhere in the UK.”

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ASDA SURGERY

Today was my last surgery of the Parliamentary term before Parliament dissolves and the campaign begins. I hope to be re-elected and continue holding them in 2020.

Thank you to everyone who wished me well and said they’ll vote SNP on the 12th of December.

A common issue today was housing. The SNP have built 60,000 social homes since 2007 and have pledged another 35,000 over the course of this Parliament. We are listening to and delivering for the people of Scotland.

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MP BACKS HOUSING HUMAN RIGHT AND RENT CONTROLS

SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Marion Fellows, has signed Shelter Scotland’s petition to enshrine the right to a decent home in Scots Law and backed calls from tenants’ union, Living Rent, for rent controls on private lets.

Shelter’s campaign was launched after research conducted by YouGov for Shelter Scotland found that 88% of people surveyed agreed that everyone in Scotland should have a legal right to a safe, secure and affordable home and that 76% support a new law being created in Scotland for adequate housing for everyone in the country.

Mrs Fellows has also backed calls from Scotland’s tenants’ union, Living Rent, to introduce rent controls on the private sector which was backed by 12,000 petitioners in March this year.

Mrs Fellows says that while the Scottish Government pledged to build 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this Parliament, 35,000 of which would be for the social rented sector, access to housing can be widened and household incomes can be increased if the cost of rents in the private sector are made affordable with rent controls.

A study from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that families living in private rented accommodation and receiving Local Housing Allowance were struggling to find and afford homes in their area after the UK Government froze LHA in 2016.

On average, 19.5 per cent of the market was available to Scottish families – 10.5 per cent lower than what is supposed to be.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“A wealthy, twenty-first century country is able to provide the bare necessity of a home to everyone. We have civil rights such as the right to vote, free speech and assembly. Social rights – like a right to a home – must be equally protected.

“As people struggle under Tory austerity, Universal Credit, stagnating incomes and high costs of living, rent controls can ensure the people with the broadest shoulders take weight off people without homes and renters who tend to have low incomes and take part in precarious work.

“The SNP Scottish Government is leading the way in building thousands of affordable homes, but people are still struggling to afford the private sector. We can do more to tackle homelessness and financial inequality with rent controls and ensure the human right to a home is realised.”

A spokesperson for Living Rent said:

“Living Rent warmly welcomes Marion Fellows’ endorsement of our proposal for the rent controls that Scotland needs. It is heartening to see that in conjunction with Shelter Scotland’s proposal to solidify housing as a human right, there is proper consideration being given for the number one impediment to a decent home: the cost.

“We would encourage other SNP MP’s and MSP’s to follow Marion’s lead and begin the process for implementing a system of rent controls that ensures the private rented sector meets the housing rights of tenants across Scotland.”E

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UNIVERSAL CREDIT SQUEEZING PRIVATE RENTERS

CALLS TO END TORY BENEFIT FREEZE AND INCREASE HOUSING ALLOWANCE

Tenants in private rented accommodation are being squeezed by the Tories’ Universal Credit, SNP MP, Marion Fellows, said today following Work and Pensions Questions in Westminster.

Tenants in privately rented accommodation receive Local Housing Allowance (LHA) as part of their Universal Credit claim. LHA is supposed to cover the cheapest 30 per cent of properties in the region in which the person lives.

But LHA was frozen by the UK Government’s benefits freeze leaving private tenants £38.49 worse off per week.

At Work and Pensions questions, Mrs Fellows called for LHA to be increased to the pre-2010 level and uprate it in line with inflation and rent increases in each locality.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The Tories’ Universal Credit is failing to secure for private tenants the most basic necessity of keeping a roof over their heads and is squeezing their incomes. The Tories must lift their benefits freeze, and the Local Housing Allowance must rise with the real-life costs people are facing.

“The UK Government had the perfect opportunity to help struggling households with the spending review, but the Tories are set on continuing with their austerity agenda which damages our communities while giving tax cuts to the richest.

“The SNP built 33,490 affordable homes by the end of the last Scottish Parliamentary term and will build 50,000 by the end of this Parliament – 35,000 of which will be for social rent. But many people currently live in private accommodation and many struggle to afford it.

“The SNP has used its powers spending £47 million mitigating the Tories’ Bedroom Tax. We are building a welfare state in Scotland built of fairness, dignity and respect in stark contrast to the degrading actions of the Tories.”

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This Week #53

Monday 19th June 2017

On Monday, Marion was working hard at home in the constituency, before attending the Clyde Valley High prize-giving ceremony, during which the MP presented awards to 5th and 6th year pupils including Dux Medal winner Meghan Hill.

Marion presents Meghan with her Dux Medal.



Tuesday 20th June 2017

On Thursday, Marion continued working from her office in the Dalziel Building in Motherwell, discussing local issues, meeting local people, and assisting constituents with casework.



Wednesday 21st June 2017

“More powers for Scotland” should be an SNP priority at Westminster says MP
21st June 2017

Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has said that more powers for the Scottish Parliament should be one of the party’s top priorities during this Parliament.

New powers were devolved to the Scottish Parliament following the 2014 independence referendum and a massive SNP victory in the 2015 General Election.

The SNP included further devolution in their 2017 manifesto. The MP says that the SNP’s victory in the snap General Election with 35 of 59 MPs demonstrates a clear desire and mandate for yet more powers to be devolved.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“The SNP’s manifesto called on more powers for the Scottish Parliament and Scotland has voted for that pledge to be fulfilled.

“The Scottish Parliament received new powers last year that the Scottish Government are beginning to put to good use. For example, we are breaking away from the Tories’ welfare regime of sanctions and unfair disability assessments to build a system of dignity and respect.

“However some of the powers, such as control of income tax, is difficult to use while Westminster still holds the powers to tackle tax evasion which makes it easier for people to register their tax in England to pay a lower rate.

“When the Tories are teaming up with the far right DUP, Scottish parties must unite to take these powers out of Theresa May’s hands and into Scotland’s.

“With Brexit, there is an opportunity for powers over agriculture and fisheries for example to be returned to the Scottish Parliament. With the Great Repeal Bill, it is essential that Westminster is not able to hold onto powers that are rightfully Scotland’s in a power grab.

“Further tax, employment and pension powers must be a key priority. We shouldn’t allow the Tories to allow tax evasion while ordinary people pay their fair share; we shouldn’t allow people to work for poverty wages; and we shouldn’t allow people who have paid into the pension pot have their retirement ruined.”



Thursday 22nd June 2017

Thursday provided Marion with the opportunity to provide a fantastic contribution to the Housing and Social Security debate at the House of Commons, stating:

In Scotland, we value all of our citizens, whatever their age or ethnicity. Many constituents have approached me in desperation and disbelief. I have a long list and I do not have time to go through it, but during the election campaign I was approached by a grieving grandmother whose son had just been widowed. The so-called simplification of bereavement support resulting in cuts for widows and widowers when they are at their most vulnerable is scandalous. I ask Members to try to imagine how someone who is grieving must feel when having to give up their employment to deal with a young family and finding out that the financial support they expected because of their circumstances was no longer there. That happened in April of this year.

The SNP is opposed to any increase in national insurance, especially at a time of low consumer confidence and squeezed household budgets. We need a freeze on NI contributions and VAT. The SNP here in Westminster will fight for a moratorium and review of the closure of HMRC offices in Scotland and across the UK, for beneficial ownership of companies and trusts to be made public, for measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by major international companies, and for further action by the UK Government to tackle international tax avoidance. If these measures were taken, there might be no need for austerity cuts at all, or at least they could be lessened.

The SNP will fight for an end to benefit sanctions, to the roll-out of universal credit and to charges from the Child Maintenance Service, and we will fight to end private company involvement in social security benefits. Finally, we will fight to abolish the premium-rate telephone charge for those seeking advice or claiming benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions. Not only do the Government cut benefits, but they charge people increasingly large amounts to access what is rightfully theirs. We must help the worst off and most vulnerable in our society, not impose further cuts on them.

Click here to read Marion’s speech in full.



Friday 23rd June 2017

On Friday, Marion visited Dalzell steelworks in Motherwell and met with General Manager Drew McGhie.

Although the Scottish Government saved the plant, the UK Government has yet to outline a proper industrial strategy to create the right conditions for manufacturing businesses. Marion is talking to local businesses with the intention of making sure this happens.

With great capabilities in engineering research and innovation through universities, steel businesses like Dalzell that make steel for wind turbines, and great potential for renewable energy in Scotland, there are plenty of opportunities to grow in these sectors. But we need a government that is willing.

Marion meets Drew McGhie, General Manager of the Dalzell steelworks.

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1,000 EXTRA NLC AFFORDABLE HOMES MADE POSSIBLE BY SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT

‘£3billion investment from Scottish Government to increase the number of affordable homes in North Lanarkshire’

Recent plans by North Lanarkshire Council to increase the number of affordable homes in the local authority’s area was made possible by the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP).

The SNP Scottish Government pledged to build 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the Parliament, 35,000 of which would be for the social rented sector.

NLC saw an increase in their AHSP grant from £16m in 2015/16 to £23m in 2016/17.

The Scottish Government has also increased funding for new housing projects from £50,000 per unit to £59,000.

A recent report to the Housing and Social Work Services Committee stated that the Scottish Government’s AHSP grant will allow for NLC to build 300 homes each year for the next five years and that the increase in grants will allow for another 1,000 homes in North Lanarkshire.

Commenting, Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows said:

“The SNP is committed to building affordable homes for everyone. This is why we have embarked on the biggest home building project for decades.

“The previous Labour Government built only six council houses in Scotland; whereas the Scottish Government built over 30,000 in the previous Parliament and have pledged an additional 50,000 in this Parliament.

“As a result, North Lanarkshire will see over 1,800 homes built in the next ten years – all made possible by the Scottish Government Affordable Housing Supply Programme which is providing grants to local authorities to undertake these projects.

“It is no surprise that there are 12,000 people on NLC’s housing waiting list. Not all people will be homeless, but many will like in overcrowded or unsuitable housing. But 1,900 claims of homelessness were made to NLC in 2015/16. Since elected, I have assisted 111 people with housing enquiries. There is a clear and definite need for building more homes.

“By ending the right to buy and taking up a mass home building initiative, we can begin to combat homelessness and ensure everyone has access to shelter.”