Motion S5M-05326: International Parental Alienation Awareness Day

26 Apr 2017

That the Parliament notes that 25 April marks International Parental Alienation Awareness Day; notes that, in over 30 countries, the day aims to highlight the damaging impact that such alienation, when one parent influences a child to reject the other parent following separation, can have on families; believes that, as this can sometimes happen unintentionally, highlighting the signs of alienation are key; understands that the side effects of such alienation can include an increased risk to the mental health of the children and family members who lose access; considers that, where possible, allowing both parents to be involved in the life of a child following separation leads to the best outcome, and hopes that the awareness day will help increase awareness of the benefits that healthy relationships between separated parents can bring.

Motion S5M-05096: Minimum Pricing

22 Apr 2017

That the Parliament welcomes calls from a House of Lords select committee for the introduction of UK-wide minimum unit pricing for alcohol if it proves to be successful in Scotland; understands that, in spite of support for minimum pricing coming from a wide range of organisations, such as health professionals, the police, alcohol charities, Tennents and other sections of the drinks industry, the Act that was passed in 2012 has still not come in to force due to ongoing legal challenges from the Scotch Whisky Association; believes that this highlights the interest with which the rest of the UK and countries further afield are viewing minimum pricing in Scotland, and reiterates its support for this policy which it hopes will lead to a significant reduction in problem drinking across Scotland.

JOHN MASON BACKS PETITION TO SCRAP DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIM TAX

21 Apr 2017

John is calling upon constituents to help scrap the Tory government policy to tax victims of domestic abuse for exerting their right to child maintenance.

 

John 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, John 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, John Mason MSP said:

 

“Victims are 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.

 

tax on child support

Question S5O-00860:

20 Apr 2017

John Mason Scottish National Party

  1. “To ask the Scottish Government what the impact is of water charges on smaller organisations that operate in business centres in which they do not have their own water supply but share kitchens and toilets. (S5O-00860)”

Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

“All businesses in Scotland that are connected to the public supply are liable for water and sewerage charges. Where a property is part of a much larger building that is connected to public water and/or sewerage, it may be liable for charges if it has access to services in the common parts of the building.”

John Mason Scottish National Party

“There are a number of businesses in my constituency that are really struggling with heavy business rates, specifically from Business Stream. They seem to be trapped, because they are not allowed to switch to another supplier while they have arrears with Business Stream and their landlords are reluctant to install a meter that would show how little water is being used. Can the cabinet secretary suggest a way out of the situation?”

Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

“It is important for all customers to pay their fair share for services received and, at the moment, there are no plans to offer alternative charging arrangements for the situation that the member described.

Business Stream works hard to ensure that it takes as much account as possible of the individual circumstances that customers face. If there are businesses with very individual issues, I recommend that the member takes those issues up directly with Business Stream if he has not already done so, or writes to me about individual circumstances.”