Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, is calling upon his constituents to help scrap the Tory government policy to tax victims of domestic abuse for exerting their right to child maintenance.
Mr Beattie is urging constituents to sign a petition that calls for the UK Government to remove the 4% collection charge on child maintenance payments that applies to parents using the 'Collect-and-Pay' service.
Payments made to the 'Collect-and-Pay' service are managed by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and can be removed directly from the paying parent's bank account and have enforcement powers to ensure maintenance is paid on time and in full.
The CMS exempt victims of domestic violence from the £20 application fee, but do not make any exemptions from the monthly charges. In response to a written question tabled by SNP MP Angela Crawley, the UK Government said the charges are in place to encourage parents to pause and consider whether they require the 'Collect-and-Pay' service - encouraging parents to utilise the less bureaucratic 'Direct-Pay' scheme.
However, Mr Beattie stressed that the 'Direct-Pay' service does not offer the same protections as 'Collect-and-Pay' and can continue the cycle of abuse.
He is urging constituents to go online and sign the petition at www.domesticabusevictimtax.co.uk
Commenting, Colin Beattie MSP said:
"Victims of domestic abuse should be protected by the UK Government, not punished financially for their inability to engage with an abusive ex-partner.
"The UK Government advises victims of domestic abuse that they should utilise their less safe 'Direct-Pay' scheme, which has no powers of enforcement and allows continued communication through bank transfers.
"The Tories have shown a complete lack of compassion by introducing this charge and even worse, they actually risk putting the lives of domestic abuse victim-survivors and their children in real danger.
"The UK Government must look again at this unfair tax and listen to calls from charities, the public and MPs to scrap it - ultimately, it will be the children that child maintenance payments are intended to support who will lose out."
Today Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, welcomed the news that SNP councils elected in the forthcoming election will pledge to increase spending with local small and medium sized firms.
This move follows the report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) indicating that the average council spends less than a fifth of their procurement budget with local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Statistics collated by the Improvement Service and highlighted by the FSB found that the average council procurement spend on smaller firms in their area in 2015/16 was only 19.7 per cent.
The SNP is now committing its council groups, if elected to administration, to increase this share, revising current procurement strategies to ensure greater access for local SMEs and help local firms thrive.
Mr Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, commented:
‘I warmly welcome this news. I have lobbied for a number of years to improve local procurement and this step is exactly what’s needed.
‘The FSB report is disappointing but unsurprising. It’s been clear to me for some time that councils could do better in how they promote and engage with local businesses.
‘The knock-on effects of procuring locally are clear to see – businesses grow and thrive and provide better employment opportunities and increased revenue.
‘This is yet another reason why a vote for the SNP at the upcoming council elections stands to benefit everyone in the constituency.’
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has called on Jeremy Balfour, Miles Briggs, Gordon Lindhurst and Rachael Hamilton, Tory MSPs in the Lothian area, to stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK government and oppose the shocking and inhumane two child limit and rape clause.
The family cap limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or during an abusive relationship.
The Tories railroaded through these policies without a parliamentary debate or vote – leaving many outstanding questions with regards to women’s rights, the impact on child poverty, as well as how the hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals will be trained to assess evidence of rape.
Many sexual violence support charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK government, not least due to the trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape. SNP MP Alison Thewliss has led the campaign to scrap the grotesque two child policy and rape clause.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie for Midlothian North and Musselburgh said:
“The Tory policy that has become known as the rape clause, requiring women to disclose deeply personal information and prove that a third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape in order to claim tax credits, is both disgraceful and disgusting.
“Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories should be thoroughly ashamed of their party but instead they are defending the indefensible welfare cuts coming from Westminster.
“The two child policy will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for hardworking families – driving up child poverty after the UK government scrapped their child poverty targets.
“I will continue to fight these heartless policies and I have written to Conservative MSPs Jeremy Balfour, Miles Briggs, Gordon Lindhurst and Rachael Hamilton for the Lothian area - asking them to stand up for the dignity and human rights of Women in Scotland and condemn these utterly appalling Tory Government policies.”
It was announced yesterday that Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute is to receive £29 million from the UK government to help fund work to control infectious diseases such as bird flu. Located in Roslin, Midlothian, the Institute researches the health and welfare of animals, applications of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security. They are famous for the creation of the first cloned mammal Dolly the sheep.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, was grateful for the news. Commenting on the award he said:
“Roslin Institute is a wonderful institute that has largely contributed to the success and progress of science in Scotland. I am thrilled to learn that such a large contribution is being made, allowing them to continue their excellent work!
“Scotland is a country of growing potential, and it is awards such as this that allow our institutes and organisations to progress. Our country has a lot to offer, and I am sure that Roslin Institute will use this award to further showcase our innovation and contribution to the world.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, today welcomed the progress on the Sheriffhall roundabout located in Midlothian. As the roundabout is a major point of traffic congestion, the Scottish Government has been discussing options to improve it. After narrowing down to three possible options, the government has selected option B, which will result in the construction of a flyover above an enlarged roundabout.
Commenting on this announcement, Mr Beattie said:
“It is good to hear that plans are being set in place for the further development of this important intersection. Sheriffhall roundabout is a busy junction that has long awaited changes to improve the flow of traffic, and I am happy to see that things are moving along.
“I recognise that the speed of these improvements is not ideal, and I acknowledge that many have raised concerns in regards to this issue, but it’s important that we take the time to get this right instead of rushing in and getting it wrong. It is my hope that this option will minimise future problems and will benefit Midlothian in the years to come. I look forward to the continuing good work in future months.”