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Scottish Child Disability Payments Now Live

The Scottish Government’s Child Disability Payment is now open for applications across Scotland. It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children and marks a major milestone in the foundation of Social Security Scotland.

Those who currently receive Disability Living Allowance for children from the DWP will also be transferred to Social Security Scotland. They will be told when this is happening and will find their payments transferred safely and securely within the next 18 months. Payments will be made at the same rate and there will be no break in entitlement.

Find out more: https://bit.ly/ChildDisabilityPaymentOpens

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UK BUDGET ANNOUNCED

Despite the spin from the Tories in London, Scotland’s budget will be lower in real terms that it was when the Tories came to power. It does not reverse £13.9bn of cumulative cuts or provide our people and services with the full support they need.

I was pleased that SNP calls to act on the tampon tax was heeded, and also my own calls to end the 20% tax on digital publications. However, many of the UK Government’s abhorrent policies remain. The two-child Tax Credit cap is still affecting 8,500 Scottish families. The minimum wage is still set below the real Living Wage. And the £200bn immoral and financial blackhole, Trident, will remain on the Clyde while children live in poverty, people go homeless, and families go hungry.

There was once again no strategy for the steel sector; no protection of workers’ rights; and no commitment to match the Scottish Government’s efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Urgent action is needed to tackle the economic crisis coronavirus is causing: the UK Government should have matched the Scottish Government’s NHS spending. UK Statutory Sick Pay also lags behind the European average at £94 per week whereas Ireland is offering £266 – for all workers, including the self-employed.

The Scottish Government now needs clarity on what the UK Government’s coronavirus programme will means for spending here. Barnett consequentials must be passed on so we can effectively deal with the problem.

In summary, this year’s budget is a continuation of the budgets the Tories have been forcing on Scotland for ten years. Our economy is being undermined, our services are being hamstrung, and peoples’ incomes are being squeezed. With independence and all the powers at Scotland’s disposal, we could introduce a budget that meets the needs of people across Scotland to deliver for them and allow them to live a life of opportunity, prosperity and respect.

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UK BUDGET TODAY

Scotland – our people, communities and services – have suffered under a decade of Tory austerity. With today’s budget, it is expected that it will continue. The Scottish Government Budget 2020-21 is still 2.8% (£840 million) lower in real terms compared to 2010-11. The £1.2bn extra next financial year will not reverse the £13.9bn of cumulative cuts.

Despite these pressures, the Scottish Government has delivered record public investment. For the first time, the NHS in Scotland will have a budget of £15bn. £800 million will be invested to deliver 50,000 new homes this parliament. The £10 weekly Scottish Child Payment, which when fully rolled out from this year, will help 30,000 children out of poverty as part of £3.4 billion in social security.

This shows what Scotland can do with one hand tied behind our back. Imagine what we can do with all the powers over our economy and society. Scotland has demanded to choose its future. We can either continue with tax cuts for the richest and under investment, or we can be independent and invest in our people.

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SCOT GOV CARER SUPPLEMENT PAYS OUT £6m TO NORTH LANARKSHIRE CARERS

LOCAL MP WELCOMES FIGURES SHOWING NORTH LANARKSHIRE SECOND MOST LOCAL AUTHORTY TO BENEFIT FROM GROUND-BREAKING NEW CARERS ALLOWANCE SUPPLEMENT

Recent figures have revealed that North Lanarkshire carers were the second biggest recipient of the SNP Scottish Government’s Carers Allowance Supplement (CAS) with £6m being paid out since April 2018.

The CAS provides carers with £226.20 twice a year. The latest payment in October 2019 paid £1.5m to 6,685 carers in North Lanarkshire.

Since the launch of CAS, 26,985 payments have been paid to carers in North Lanarkshire while 317,055 have been paid across Scotland.

In terms of payments made and the total sum paid, North Lanarkshire was second behind Glasgow and came just ahead of Fife and South Lanarkshire.

Commenting, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw and the SNP’s Westminster Disabilities spokesperson, Marion Fellows said:

“The SNP Scottish Government is utilising its powers over social security to deliver ground-breaking support of over £450 a year to people in North Lanarkshire and across Scotland who care for people with disabilities and illness.

“Our carers do an essential job in our communities. The Scottish Government has rightly deemed them a priority to receive this vital support. Carers and the people they care for deserve a dignified standard of living.

“In stark contrast to the UK Government’s welfare regime, the SNP Scottish Government is building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect. With independence, we can take control of all social security and employment law to deliver the support for those in need and lift people out of poverty.”

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IMPROVING SOCIAL MOBILITY

Last week, I spoke in a debate on social mobility. So many people today do not enjoy the things that my generation got to enjoy. With austerity, the gig economy and low wages, hardworking people are not given the full support or opportunities to improve their living standards.

The Scottish Government is doing what it can with our welfare powers by bringing in the Scottish Child Payment to give our children the best start. With independence, we can do more in social security and workplace rights with an end to zero hour contracts and a real Living Wage.

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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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OVER £143m CUT FROM DISABLED PEOPLE LOOKING FOR WORK

TORY MINISTER CLAIMS “NO SAVINGS” IN RETRACTED STATEMENT WHILE SCOTS DISPROPORTIONATELY HIT

Recent figures have revealed that the UK Government’s policy to abolish the Work Related Activity Component (WRAC) for claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has cut their incomes by over £143.2m since it was enforced in April 2017.

Claimants of ESA suffer from a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work. Claimants are put in one of two groups: the Support Group – those who cannot work – and the Work Related Activity Group – those who require support returning to work.

In April 2017, the UK Government abolished the WRAC resulting in a weekly cut of £29.05. In response to a Parliamentary Question from Mrs Fellows, Disabilities Minister, Justin Tomlinson, claimed that “there are no savings” and that the cut “enabled the Department to recycle money”.

This answer was retracted four days later and replaced with the claim that the figures were not available and would incur disproportionate costs to calculate.

But figures from the House of Commons Library reveal that between April 2017 and June 2019, approximately over £143.2m has been cut from people with disabilities seeking to get into work.

£19.5m – or 13.6% – has been disproportionately cut from Scottish claimants despite Scotland making up 8.2% of the UK population.

Total cuts are likely to be much higher as Universal Credit claimants in the equivalent Limited Capability for Work group are also affected, but not identifiable. A Treasury forecast in 2017 estimated that by 2020/21, a total of £510m would be cut from ESA and Universal Credit incomes through the measure.

Commenting, the SNP’s Disabilities spokesperson, Marion Fellows, said:

“Recent figures show the shocking extent of the Tories punitive cuts to the incomes of society’s most vulnerable people.  A cut to peoples’ incomes of over £1,500 a year has had a devastating impact. The Tories must reverse their cuts.

“The Minister’s response is insulting to those people whose incomes are being hit. Worse yet, the UK Government has shamefully tried to hide how much they have cut by claiming it is too expensive to calculate when the Commons Library was easily able to produce reliable figures.

“Scotland is bearing the brunt of this Tory cut. With independence, we can take control of all welfare powers and use them to support disabled people into work. We can do this by improving the Access to Work scheme and implementing protective legislation for disabled people.

“Instead, the Tories’ are using their brutal welfare regime as a stick to beat vulnerable people into work by depriving them of basic support. These figures are especially shocking given many people have been wrongfully declared capable of working.

“This is in stark contrast to the work of the SNP Scottish Government who are building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect. With the full powers, we can do so much more.”

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NEW ROLE: DISABILITIES SPOKESPERSON

With the increase of SNP MPs, I am proud to announce that I have been appointed as the SNP’s Westminster spokesperson for Disabilities.

From casework to campaigns, since 2015 I have been fighting for people with disabilities – particularly against the Tories’ punishing welfare regime which has been attacking the incomes of the most vulnerable for a decade.

In contrast to the UK Government, the SNP Scottish Government has been building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect. I will be working with colleagues in Holyrood to devolve these powers and failing that, enshrining these values in the UK welfare system.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the role and fighting for the people of Motherwell and Wishaw and communities across Scotland.

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APPLICATIONS OPEN: YOUNG CARER GRANT

Applications open today for the Scottish Government’s Young Carer Grant which could see young carers access an additional £300 each year.

Young Carer Grant has been designed to support young carers aged 16, 17 and 18 who care for someone on certain disability benefits for an average of 16 hours a week during a significant transitional period of their life, to access the same opportunities as their non-caring peers.

The SNP is using the powers of the Scottish Government to deliver for the people of Scotland. We are building a social security system based on fairness dignity and respect in stark contrast to the draconian and punitive system of the Tories in Westminster.

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FIRST MINISTER’S ADDRESS

Scotland is facing two futures: one as part of the UK, led by a Prime Minister that has broken the law, is determined to destroy our economy and services through a no deal Brexit and austerity, and who wants to tear our communities apart. Or we can have a future as an independent standing as equals amongst others around the globe and take control of our futures to secure the country that we want to live in.

Thankfully, before the end of this year, the First Minister will will demand the transfer of power that puts the legality of a referendum beyond any doubt. As support for independence has recent;y climbed to 50%, Westminster’s continued refusal to respect the sovereignty of the Scottish people to decide its own future is unsustainable and undemocratic.

Opposing the oppression of Catalan democracy; condemning the bloodshed of Turkey against the Kurdish people; a Scottish Child Payment with no Rape Clause or two child cap; and a pledge to scrap non-residential social care charges for all if a SNP Government is re-elected in 2021.

Human rights, peace and supporting our citizens – these are the values at the core of the SNP and the values that will be at the core of an independent Scotland.