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."