MSPS BACK MOTION CALLING FOR THE UK GOVERNMENT TO ‘AXE THE TAX’ ON VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, today welcomed the news that her motion backing the campaign to scrap the tax on domestic abuse victim-survivors had gained cross-party support.
The motion, which condemns the UK Government’s policy to take 4% of a parent’s monthly maintenance, will be scheduled for debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley recently launched a petition on the tax, calling 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. The ‘Collect-and-Pay’ service also has enforcement powers available 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 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, victim-support organisations and charities have stressed that the ‘Direct-Pay’ service does not offer the same protections as ‘Collect-and-Pay’ and can continue the cycle of abuse.
Commenting, Christina said:
“What message are the Tories sending vulnerable women that have escaped domestic abuse when they charge them for exercising their right to child maintenance?
“We know that the other schemes offered by the Child Maintenance Service provide the same level of safety and security as the ‘Collect-and-Pay’ scheme – that’s why the Government exempt victims of domestic abuse from the application charge.
“By doing this they admit that the ‘Collect-and-Pay’ scheme is the safest way for domestic abuse victim survivors to receive child support. It therefore beggar’s belief that they see fit to take money from vulnerable women’s pockets for simply claiming support they are entitled to.
“The UK Government continue to preside over one of the most unequal societies in the developed world. This policy only adds to the accusation that the Tories are happy to try and balance the books on the backs of women and the poor.
“I’m delighted to receive cross-party support for my motion to the Scottish Parliament, and I urge my colleagues to unite in opposition to this cruel and callous tax - saying in no uncertain terms that Scotland rejects the domestic abuse victim tax.
Following on, Angela Crawley MP said:
“It’s welcome that Christina has received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament to scrap this archaic tax.
“It sends a further message that in Scotland, we do things differently. Because whilst the Tories continue to ignore our calls for protections for the most vulnerable individuals in society, the Scottish Parliament can send a message of hope and solidarity.
“The protection of victims of domestic abuse should cross the party divide. I therefore hope MSPs from every political party will unite