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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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ANGER AT LABOUR'S POST OFFICE PRIVATISATION PLANS

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

CUSTOMER SERVICE MUST BE THE FOCUS – WHITEFORD

As postal workers protest at Westminster over the UK Labour Government’s controversial plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, SNP Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford has condemned the news that controversial proposals to sell off part of the Royal Mail are to be introduced in the House of Lords.

With massive opposition to the proposals amongst Labour MPs, UK Ministers are relying on Conservative and Liberal Democrat votes to get the bill through when it comes to the House of Commons. The SNP is the only mainstream Scottish party who oppose the privatisation plans.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

”Lord Mandelson is on a collision course with his own party over these privatisation plans, and thinly veiled warnings over Royal Mail’s pension fund will backfire badly. This debate is about Royal Mail, not blackmail, and if anything the situation with Royal Mail’s pension fund actually reinforces the case against bringing in a private partner.

”The pension situation will have to be dealt with regardless, and if that is left to a private firm it will mean job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers.

"A private partner will only be concerned with profit, and Royal Mail must not lose its social focus which would impact disproportionately in rural areas like North-east Scotland.

”By inviting in a private partner Lord Mandelson is opening the way for full privatisation, and he must be stopped in his tracks.”

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EURO MP VOWS TO CONTINUE FIGHT FOR FIRE COVER

Monday, 23 February 2009

HUDGHTON VISITS FRASERBURGH FIRE STATION TO HIGHLIGHT CAMPAIGN

A Euro-MP has pledged to carry on the fight to safeguard fire cover in the North-east from the threat of the decision to end the opt-out from the Working Time Directive.

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton joined Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board members Cllr Brian Topping and Cllr Stephen Smith along with Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford on a visit to the retained duty fire station at Fraserburgh today where they met with Area Manager Fraser Burr, Station sub-officer John Anderson and his deputy Ken Macleod to discuss concerns.

The timing of the visit was highly appropriate because just as Mr Hudghton was arriving, so were retained firefighters from across the town and both of the fire tenders based at the station went out on a blue-light call.

Speaking in Fraserburgh, Ian Hudghton MEP said:

“This was a very useful meeting and I was able to hear at first hand from the people at the sharp end straight after they had been out on a call.

“It is clear that the present system which works extremely well will be rendered inoperable if the decision to end the working time opt-out is left as it is. Thankfully, I think we are a long way from that and the UK Government is showing signs of being stirred into action by the huge concern within the fire service.

“I am grateful to the firefighters we met for giving up their time to speak to me today. Their input and information will prove very useful in the continuing campaign to support retained fire cover.”

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford commented:

“I’ve been left in no doubt by what I heard today that we must do all we can to save the retained duty system from the threat it currently faces.

“We are very fortunate to have such dedicated firefighters like the ones I met today who also serve their community in this way in addition to their own full-time jobs. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about the consequences were we to lose the retained firefighters and I will be lending my full support to this campaign.”

Fraserburgh councillor and member of Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board Brian Topping added:

“I’m delighted that Ian has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit the Broch today. There is very real concern in the fire service about this issue but I am sure that with enough support we can overturn this very damaging decision.”

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2.5% WHISKY DUTY CUT COULD BENEFIT SCOTTISH ECONOMY BY £733M

Thursday, 19 February 2009

SECRETARY OF STATE MURPHY MUST ARGUE FOR FAIRER TAXATION FOR KEY BANFFSHIRE INDUSTRY

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has seized on figures from independent economic consultant GEN which reveal a 2.5% cut in whisky duty could have generated £733m for the Scottish economy – double the benefit of the equivalent cut in VAT which was put in place at the last Pre-Budget Report.

The whisky industry is vital to Banffshire and Moray and Ms Whiteford was delighted to attend the official re-opening of the Glenglassaugh Distillery recently.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"The whisky sector is one of Scotland's key industries both in export, earnings and employment terms, and the Government has a responsibility to support it.

"Instead of implementing this measure which would have been hugely beneficial, the Chancellor hid a whisky tax hike in his Pre-Budget Report which would have been disastrous for the Scottish whisky industry.

"It was the SNP Group at Westminster who forced the Treasury to reconsider while the Scotland Office stood back and did nothing.

"Instead of picking fights with his colleagues in Edinburgh, Jim Murphy should step up to the mark and use these figures to argue for a fairer taxation regime for this Scottish vital industry."

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CANDIDATE DROPS IN TO SUPPORT VILLAGE HALL

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

BODDAM VILLAGE HALL COFFEE MORNING SUCCESS

Boddam Village Hall Committee held a successful indoor table sale and coffee morning recently. Organisers were pleased with the turnout on the day and are already planning another event in the village.

The Hall Committee have been carrying out improvements to the popular community facility and their latest project is to raise funds to install a disabled toilet and improve access.

Boddam councillor Stephen Smith paid a visit to support the event and was joined by Westminster election candidate Eilidh Whiteford.

Commenting, Councillor Smith said:

"It's important to support these community facilities and the small but dedicated committee here at Boddam Hall are doing a power of work to maintain the village hall for the people of Boddam and district."

SNP Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford added:

"Village halls are at the heart of small communities so it's good to hear that Boddam Hall seems to be very well-used and I'm delighted to hear of the plans the committee have for making further improvements and I wish them every success with their fundraising efforts."

The Hall Committee are planning another indoor table sale and coffee morning for Saturday 14 March.

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BOOST FOR BUCHAN ECONOMY WELCOMED

PORT INVESTMENT HELPS SECURE PETERHEAD'S POSITION

Scottish Government investment in Peterhead Port Authority's plans for expansion have been hailed by local SNP councillor's and the Party's candidate to succeed Alex Salmond at Westminster.

Peterhead North & Rattray councillor Anne Allan, Aberdeenshire's Buchan Area Committee Chairman Stuart Pratt and SNP Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford have all welcomed the announcement by Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead of over £5Million investment from the Scottish Government and European Fisheries Fund.

Welcoming the news as further evidence of the SNP Government's commitment to the North-east, Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford said:

"Having been brought up in a fishing community myself, I know how important it is not just to Peterhead but to the whole Scottish economy that the industry receives the support it very much deserves but, sadly, has not received from the London parties under successive governments.

"I'm therefore delighted that my colleague Richard Lochhead has given this vital funding the go-ahead today which means that Peterhead will continue to make an important contribution to the local and national economy."

Commenting at this morning's formal announcement at Peterhead Harbour, Cllr Anne Allan said:

"This is absolutely fantastic news. At a time of economic uncertainly it is a real boost to the town to have this amount of investment coming in.

"I think this just underlines the importance of having people like Richard Lochhead in government who do not have to take their orders from furth of Scotland and are able to make investment decisions based on what is right for local circumstances."

Aberdeenshire Council Buchan Area Chairman Cllr Stuart Pratt added:

"It is well-known that the Tory Government which took us into Europe and the nightmare that is the Common Fisheries Policy regarded the Scottish fishing industry as "expendable". The SNP have been working hard in Government over the past 18 months to rebuild the industry and repair the damage done to it by the 18 long years of Tory misrule.

"Today is another step along the road to restoring the fishing industry to its rightful place as a valuable contributor of jobs, wealth and infrastructure to the North-east. I am absolutely delighted with this announcement but you can be sure the SNP Government won't be resting on its laurels and will continue to work hard for the industry."

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MAUD FIREFIGHTERS PRAISED FOR CHARITY EFFORT

Friday, 6 February 2009

Buchan firefighters boosted the coffers of a Scottish childrens' charity at the weekend.

Firefighters from the retained station at Maud held a charity car wash in aid of the Scottish Burned Children's Club. Over 100 cars were washed on the day by the volunteers, who had given up their spare time to help.

Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board member Cllr Stephen Smith paid a visit on the day along with the SNP's Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford and firefighters took the opportunity to lobby them on the threat to the retained duty system posed by the ending of the opt-out from the EU's Working Time Directive.

Commenting, Cllr Smith said:

"This was a tremendous effort for a very worthwhile cause by the Maud crew and I congratulate them on their efforts.

"It is this sort of community spirit which is under threat from the EU's wish to have the Working Time Directive apply to our part-time fire crews. If the proposals go through in their current form, the whole system of retained firefighters in rural areas will cease to function. Opinion is being mobilised against this measure and I am confident we can succeed."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"The crew were certainly being kept very busy at their car wash and it is obviously that their efforts were being well supported by local people who clearly value the contribution each and every one of them make towards keeping our communities safe."

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BIG TURNOUT FOR SNP BURNS SUPPER IN CRUDEN BAY

The Scottish National Party held a Burns Supper in the Red House Hotel, Cruden Bay on Saturday. Organisers were delighted with a turnout of over 60 guests for the event which saw the Immortal Memory delivered by Euro-MP Ian Hudghton.

Also speaking was Banff & Buchan Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford who delivered the Toast to Scotland. Local farmer Ferg Stephen said the Selkirk Grace and Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson Addressed the Haggis. Former Banff & Buchan activist and now Westminster candidate for Glasgow South Malcolm Fleming recited Tam O'Shanter.

Commenting, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I was absolutely delighted with the turnout for the Burns Supper. The SNP has held a Burns Supper in the Cruden area for many years now and I was pleased to renew my acquaintance with local people, having delivered the Reply from the Lassies at the same event last year.

"All credit must go to the hotel management and staff for their efficiency on the night and of course the excellent meal they provided.

"The SNP branch in Peterhead and District is going from strength to strength thanks to the efforts of our hardworking local councillors and their team. I've been campaigning in and around Peterhead and Cruden for over a year now, most recently with a visit to Boddam Hall's fundraising Coffee Morning last week where it was my pleasure to meet with the hall committee."

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