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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD WELCOMES COMMITMENTS IN SNP FARMING MANIFESTO

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Scottish National Party has set out its ambition for Scotland’s rural communities as Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham and SNP MEP Alyn Smith pledged to protect Scotland’s rural jobs at the launch of the SNP’s Manifesto for Rural Scotland.

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the manifesto commitment for SNP MEPs to work with and for Scotland’s farming communities in the fight over direct payments, CAP reform and Less Favoured Areas.

SNP MEPs will continue to speak for Scotland on ongoing issues such as sheep tagging - where the SNP has led the campaign against EU plans.

Welcoming the farming manifesto, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The SNP’s track record in serving Scotland’s farmers over the past two years in Government has been second to none.

“For example, following discussions with farmers at New Deer Show with local MP Alex Salmond, the SNP’s farming manifesto in 2007 promised a truly independent subsidy appeals system. John Kinnaird was tasked with leading the review and the Scottish Government has accepted his recommendation of an independent system.

“On this, and a whole range of other issues such as waiving charges imposed by SEPA for disposal of sheep dip and water abstraction, promises are being delivered on because these policies are what farmers are telling the SNP they want to see implemented.

“I’m therefore confident that the pledges in our Euro-Election manifesto will find similar support in the industry.”

Commenting at the manifesto launch, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:

"Scotland's agriculture industry is a huge asset to this country. It lies at the heart of our rural communities and supports jobs from Shetland to Selkirk.

“Working with communities, the SNP Scottish Government has invested around £200 million in our rural economy through our rural development programme, supporting thousands of jobs in rural Scotland and we have taken action to support Scotland’s quality produce through our national food strategy.

“SNP MEPs alongside Scottish ministers, will make sure those priorities are heard in the European Parliament, the European Commission and by the UK Government.”

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, who has been Scotland’s only full member of Europe’s Agriculture Committee during the last Parliament added:

"Scotland has very different priorities to those being pushed by politicians at Westminster, particularly when it comes to how our rural communities should be supported financially.

“As we undertake a review of the Common Agricultural Policy in the next Parliament, a strong voice for Scotland is more necessary than ever.

“A vote for the SNP on June 4th is a vote to protect Scotland’s jobs and rural communities.”

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PARTY PUTTING FISHERIES AT TOP OF AGENDA LAUNCHES MANIFESTO

Saturday, 23 May 2009

SNP MEP and Member of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee Ian Hudghton has pledged to fight for the return of powers over fisheries to fishing nations as he launched the SNP fisheries manifesto.

Speaking from the Macduff Shellfish plant, a state of the art fish processor in Mintlaw where he and local SNP Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford were meeting with management and staff to discuss the future of fisheries in Scotland, Mr Hudghton said:

“Scotland has some of the best marine resources in Europe and our fishing communities have what it takes to thrive once more.

“As businesses such as Macduff Shellfish illustrate, Scottish fisheries – and the many industries which feed into them – are major employers.

“Working together with SNP MEPs and fishing communities, the Scottish Government has been the first to put this vital industry at the top of the agenda. We will continue to work in partnership to ensure a long and prosperous future for the Scotland’s fisheries.

“In Government in Scotland, the SNP have established the Scottish Fisheries Council and worked to provide practical help – such as the Fishing Fuel Plan – to the fisheries industry.

“In Europe, the SNP is the only party who will speak up for Scotland’s coastal communities as the European Fisheries Policy is rewritten.

“We will campaign for the retention and expansion of historic fishing rights, for a greater voice for stakeholders in fisheries negotiations and for a new and sustainable approach to fisheries management.

“Powers over fisheries must be returned to Europe’s fishing nations, and the SNP is committed to bringing these powers home.

“A vote for the SNP at the forthcoming European elections is a vote for Scotland’s fishing industry and the vital jobs it supports."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"Scotland is highly regarded worldwide for the quality of its fish and shellfish. The fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors support thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, often in rural and coastal communities, and make a huge contribution to our economy. In these difficult times it is vital we ensure they have a sustainable and profitable future.

“These are tough times for the fishing industry. Success stories like Macduff Shellfish show how consumers around the world recognise the quality of the seafood exported from the North-east.”

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WHITEFORD COMMENTS ON NTS HADDO ANNOUNCEMENT

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Commenting on the announcement today by the National Trust for Scotland that there is to be no further reduction in visitor services or access at Haddo House, near Methlick, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I am pleased that the National Trust for Scotland are not proposing any further cutbacks or reductions in visitor access at Haddo House.

“It is still extremely disappointing that the Trust felt the need to do this during the year of the Homecoming, but with the support of local councillors, we now have access to a tour in the morning where that wasn’t the case under the Trust’s proposals.

"I visited Haddo House last summer and it is a truly magnificent building with a wonderful history. We need to maintain the visitor attractions we have in this area and I hope that the visitor numbers during this season will lead to a review of this decision by the Trust and we can return to full access for next year."

Mid-Formartine SNP councillor Allan Hendry, who is a member of the committee which approved the support for Haddo House, commented:

“This will come as a relief to the staff there and the local community who undoubtedly get a spin off to the local economy from the visitors attracted to Haddo House.

“I am pleased that no further cuts are being proposed. The National Trust for Scotland must now up its game and market Haddo more effectively.”

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SNP COMMITTED TO BRINGING POWER OVER FISHERIES HOME

PARTY PUTTING FISHERIES AT TOP OF AGENDA LAUNCHES MANIFESTO

SNP MEP and Member of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee Ian Hudghton has pledged to fight for the return of powers over fisheries to fishing nations as he launched the SNP fisheries manifesto.

Speaking from the Macduff Shellfish plant, a state of the art fish processor in Mintlaw where he and local SNP Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford were meeting with management and staff to discuss the future of fisheries in Scotland, Mr Hudghton said:

“Scotland has some of the best marine resources in Europe and our fishing communities have what it takes to thrive once more.

“As businesses such as Macduff Shellfish illustrate, Scottish fisheries – and the many industries which feed into them – are major employers.

“Working together with SNP MEPs and fishing communities, the Scottish Government has been the first to put this vital industry at the top of the agenda. We will continue to work in partnership to ensure a long and prosperous future for the Scotland’s fisheries.

“In Government in Scotland, the SNP have established the Scottish Fisheries Council and worked to provide practical help – such as the Fishing Fuel Plan – to the fisheries industry.

“In Europe, the SNP is the only party who will speak up for Scotland’s coastal communities as the European Fisheries Policy is rewritten.

“We will campaign for the retention and expansion of historic fishing rights, for a greater voice for stakeholders in fisheries negotiations and for a new and sustainable approach to fisheries management.

“Powers over fisheries must be returned to Europe’s fishing nations, and the SNP is committed to bringing these powers home.

“A vote for the SNP at the forthcoming European elections is a vote for Scotland’s fishing industry and the vital jobs it supports."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"Scotland is highly regarded worldwide for the quality of its fish and shellfish. The fishing, processing and aquaculture sectors support thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, often in rural and coastal communities, and make a huge contribution to our economy. In these difficult times it is vital we ensure they have a sustainable and profitable future.

“These are tough times for the fishing industry. Success stories like Macduff Shellfish show how consumers around the world recognise the quality of the seafood exported from the North-east.”

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WHITEFORD CONGRATULATES TOPPING ON 25 YEARS OF SERVICE TO FRASERBURGH

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has congratulated SNP councillor for Fraserburgh & District Brian Topping on clocking-up 25 years of service to the people of the Broch.

Brian was first elected as councillor for Fraserburgh West in May 1984 to the former Banff & Buchan District Council. Two years later in 1986, the Labour Party lost its last seat in Banff & Buchan when he gained the Fraserburgh North Division for the SNP on Grampian Regional Council.

After local government re-organisation, Brian was the first councillor to be elected to Aberdeenshire Council as he was unopposed. Following boundary changes in 2007, Brian is now the SNP councillor for the whole of Fraserburgh as well as Rathen, Memsie, Inverallochy and Cairnbulg. Brian has consistently topped the polls since 1984 in every election he has contested.

Brian is currently recuperating at home after undergoing major surgery for a hip replacement, but has still been dealing with casework from constituents and even helped staff the Community Safety stall at last weekend's Blue Light Festival.

Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford presented Brian with a special celebratory cake to mark the occasion along with the congratulations of party colleagues and constituents.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"Brian is an extremely well-known and popular figure in Fraserburgh with a reputation for working hard and getting things done. His recent work on things as diverse as a new bus shelter for Inverallochy to the new CCTV cameras for the town underline this.

"With Brian, the people of his Ward know that they have a first class representative, which is why he does so consistently well at the polls.

"It's an honour for me to mark the occasion of Brian's 25 years of public service in this way on behalf of the Scottish National Party and to pass on our best wishes."

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WHITEFORD SPEAKS AT OPENING OF FAIRTRADE FESTIVAL

Monday, 18 May 2009

Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Fairtrade Forum at the Mid-Formartine Fairtrade Festival held at Udny Green yesterday (Sunday), Eilidh Whiteford, who is also the SNP's Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan, said:

"The people of Mid-Formartine are to be congratulated on becoming a Fairtrade Zone. This award represents a lot of hard work by many people across the area.

"Fairtrade makes a tremendous difference to the lives of producers and their families in developing countries, ensuring they get a fair price for their produce and providing dividends for their communities.

"The importance of that is well understood in areas like Mid-Formartine where so many people are involved in food production and understand the pressures faced by farmers all over the world. The Scottish Fair Trade Forum is delighted to support today's event and is working with communities across the country to make Scotland a Fair Trade Nation."

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SNP LOOK TO FUTURE OF FISHERIES INDUSTRY

Friday, 15 May 2009

SCOTLAND NEEDS STRONG VOICE IN FISHERIES NEGOTIATIONS

SNP MEP and member of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee Ian Hudghton will today (Friday) attend the Fishing Expo 2009 in Glasgow - one of Europe's largest fishing events.


Mr Hudghton will speak directly with industry leaders about the future of the Common Fisheries Policy which is currently under consultation by the European Commission. He will be accompanied by SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford, who spent Thursday morning with Ian Hudghton at local fish processor Downies of Whitehills discussing current issues.

Commenting from Glasgow, Mr Hudghton said:

"Scotland has some of the best fisheries resources in Europe.

"A well managed fishing industry should have a bright and sustainable future, maintaining jobs and communities across the country but these resources have been consistently mismanaged.

"The CFP has been an unmitigated disaster - and successive UK Governments have failed to stand up for Scotland's fisheries.

"In its quarter-century history, we have seen once proud coastal communities fall into decline whilst key decisions on stock management are taken in late night meetings in Brussels with the acquiescence of the London-based government who have consistently let Scotland's fisheries industry down.

"Scotland needs a strong voice to speak up for its fisheries in Europe and to protect the vital jobs it supports. As the only party to put Scotland's fishing communities and industry at the front of European debate, SNP MEPs will provide this voice.

"The European Commission have now committed to 'root and branch reform' of the CFP. This is an invaluable opportunity which cannot be missed and SNP MEPs, in partnership with the Scottish Government, will work hard to get a deal that works for Scotland.

"A vote for the SNP in the forthcoming European elections will be a vote for Scotland's fishing communities.

"Powers over fisheries must be returned to Europe's fishing nations, and the SNP is committed to bringing these powers home."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"Scotland is rightly renowned around the world for the quality of its fish and shellfish. The fishing and processing sectors support thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, in our rural and coastal communities, and make a huge contribution to the Banff & Buchan economy. In these difficult times it is vital we ensure they have a sustainable and profitable future.

"I recognise the tough measures that Scotland's fishing communities are facing right now and the effect that these are having on the industry. The EU's outdated and broken Common Fisheries Policy, combined with the current economic situation, is having a dreadful impact on our fishing communities, and the SNP Scottish Government is working hard to offset the very worst of its impact."

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LOCAL MEP AND SNP CANDIDATE VISIT WILLOWBANK CENTRE

Thursday, 14 May 2009

SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton and Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford paid a visit to the Willowbank Centre at Glendaveny as part of the Centre's 'Open Evening' to tour the facility and meet with staff and service users.

Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stuart Pratt and fellow councillor Bob Watson – a former manager at the centre – were also in attendance.

Commenting after the visit, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"This is a truly fantastic facility and there was a real buzz about the place.

"Most people will probably know of the work of Willowbank through the Glendaveny Teddy Bears, which are extremely popular, and the Glendaveny jams and preserves, which I can vouch for. But there is a whole variety of other activities carried out there which gives those involved a range of skills.

"I was very happy to lend my support to the Open Evening and wish the staff and service users there continuing success with their ventures."

Ian Hudghton MEP added:

"This was a very enjoyable visit.

"It is clear that the Willowbank Centre is very highly regarded by the service users and their families which is a testament to the hard work of the staff there."

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TOPPING DELIGHTED AT NEW CCTV SYSTEM FOR FRASERBURGH

SNP councillor for Fraserburgh & District Brian Topping and SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford have expressed delight at the new CCTV system for Fraserburgh.

Councillor Topping, who is Chairman of the CCTV Working Group and also represents Fraserburgh and District Community Safety Group, said the introduction of CCTV would not only benefit local businesses but also act as a powerful deterrent to potential troublemakers.

The move comes after discussions by the Fraserburgh Business Association, which gathered 1158 comments from the local community about their views on the town centre and how best to attract people back to it.

Currently funding has been secured to provide cameras at three sites - High Street/Cross Street, High Street/Broad Street and Shore Street/Kirk Brae.

In order to provide coverage at the two remaining sites, funding amounting to £15,000 will be required. Should funding beyond that amount be secured, the system has the potential for further sites to be added.

Commenting his Fraserburgh home, where he is currently recovering after a major operation, Cllr Brian Topping said:

"This has been a lot of hard work with many meetings to secure funding and visits to potential sites around the town but I am absolutely delighted that work has paid off.

"We can now say that CCTV is finally off the wish list and is about to become reality for Fraserburgh.

"Other towns with this facility have seen the benefit and I am sure that the same will be true of Fraserburgh once this powerful deterrent to potential troublemakers is up and running. This will be an important weapon in the police armoury in the fight against anti-social behaviour and criminal activity."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"Brian has put in a lot of effort to move this forward and I pay tribute to him and the other members of the Committee for achieving this.

"I'm in no doubt that this will greatly reduce incidences of crime or anti-social behaviour in the Broch."

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WHITEFORD WELCOMES SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT CLAMPDOWN ON RED TAPE COST FOR BUSINESSES AND FARMERS

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the news that over 5,000 businesses have saved a total of over £1.5 million during 2008-09 after Scotland's environment agency waived many of the fees it normally charges.

Fees for many environmental permits, agricultural licences, and fish-farming licences were cancelled by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

In partnership with the Scottish Government, SEPA acted to ease the financial burden on its customers in the current economic climate.

SEPA waived fees for applications for new environmental permits, saving 3,326 businesses over £1.2 million. In addition fees totalling £290,000 were waived for farmers (including 1,600 sheep farmers) and fish farmers.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"This is very good news indeed for farmers and businesses, particularly at this difficult economic time.

"In opposition, the SNP pledged to rein in the bureaucratic excesses of agencies such as SEPA which had been introduced by the Conservatives and left to grow unchecked the previous Labour/Liberal Executive.

"As I meet local businesses around Banff & Buchan, one of the things they tell me is how much of a boost to them the SNP Government's Small Business Bonus Scheme which reduces or abolishes rates for small businesses has been.

"I am therefore delighted that this drive is carrying over into agencies such as SEPA, who are now having to focus on customer service and delivering value for the customer."

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP said:

"Our economic recovery plan is focused on helping hard-pressed businesses through these difficult times. Every part of the public sector must do its bit to promote economic development and SEPA is to be commended for the huge role it has played so far.

"Many of the 5,000 customers SEPA has helped will be in rural industries such as agriculture and fish-farming, which can be particularly vulnerable during tough economic times. The savings generated by SEPA will assist not only the businesses themselves but the communities and families they in turn support."

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STEVENSON & WHITEFORD HAIL MASSIVE LOTTERY AWARD FOR FETTERANGUS

Monday, 11 May 2009

The announcement by the Big Lottery Fund of an award of over £380,000 to Fetterangus Community Association has been hailed by local MSP Stewart Stevenson and SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford as a tremendous boost to the small Buchan community.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I am delighted for Fetterangus Community Association, Chairman Colin Wood and all those involved who have helped achieve this success.

"This is a substantial sum they have been awarded and clearly a lot of hard work has gone into making the application to the Big Lottery Fund in producing a bid which has secured this level of funding, so I congratulate all those involved.

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

“This is a very exciting project which aims to allow the local community to generate its own funding for local facilities through its wind turbine project.

"I am quite sure that other communities not just in Buchan but across Scotland will be keeping a close eye on this and will be looking to follow where Fetterangus is leading."

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WHITEFORD WELCOMES WHISKY EXPORT FIGURES

Friday, 8 May 2009

VITAL BANFFSHIRE INDUSTRY SHOWING INTERNATIONAL RESILIANCE

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the latest figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) which show that exports reached a new high of over £3bn in 2008.

New figures published by the SWA show that the value of shipments increased by 8 per cent to £3.06 billion. The good news for the whisky industry comes just weeks after local MP and First Minister Alex Salmond secured key concessions on 'Geographic Indication of Origin Status' from the Chinese Government during his recent trade mission to that country.

Welcoming the news, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"This is very good news indeed for the industry, particularly at this difficult time for the economy.

"The whisky industry is a vital component of the Banffshire economy and provides employment in some of our most rural communities, as well as providing support for local trades and suppliers.

“Securing Geographic Indication of Origin Status has been a vital issue for the industry, and the progress between the Scottish and Chinese Governments presents important commercial opportunities for Scotland.

"I was delighted to be able to visit Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy last month which is one of the real success stories of the industry, having been re-opened after 20 years of being mothballed. Stuart Nickerson and his team there have some ambitious plans for the brand and for the distillery itself and the figures released by the SWA can only be good news for them."

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SNP RAMP UP OPPOSITION TO ROYAL MAIL PRIVATISATION

Thursday, 7 May 2009

"Postal service is highly valued by communities across Banff & Buchan" – Eilidh Whiteford

The SNP has called for the UK Government to "go back to the drawing board" and "get a grip" on the future of the Royal Mail after one of the proposed private sector bidders pulled out. SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has reiterated the SNP's support of this important public service and pledged to keep up the pressure on the UK Labour Govenrment.

Meanwhile in the Scottish Parliament SNP MSPs have tabled a debate on the future of the Royal Mail as MSPs state their opposition to the UK Government's proposals which could threaten jobs in the Royal Mail service.

Commenting on developments Eilidh Whiteford said:

"These ridiculous proposals by the Westminster Labour Government are opposed by polticians across the board, by Royal Mail employees and by Royal Mail customers. Here in Banff & Buchan many people have expressed concern to me and it's time this flawed plan was dropped.


"The proposals to privatise the Royal Mail are now falling apart at the seams. The UK Government needs to go back to the drawing board and develop a positive policy that supports the vital public service that is Royal Mail.

"The future of Royal Mail as a public service is a vital interest to Scotland and especially in areas like rural Banff & Buchan. The postal service is highly valued by communities across the North-east and must remain run for and owned by the public.

" It is plain as day that privatisation would spell the beginning of the end for Royal Mail, opening the door to job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers.

"The SNP is committed to seeing the Royal Mail remain a public service and we will continue to put pressure on the UK Government to drop this ridiculous privatisation plan."

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WHITEFORD WELCOMES PLANS FOR SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN

Monday, 4 May 2009

SUPPLIERS NEED PROTECTION SAYS SNP CANDIDATE

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the publication last week by the Competition Commission of draft details of plans to set up an Ombudsman to police the new Grocery Suppliers' Code of Conduct.

The move follows a long investigation dating back to May 2006 which found that the bulk buying power of certain large supermarkets adversely affected competition in the marketplace and was having a detrimental effect on suppliers.

The Inquiry was set up just one month after local SNP MP Alex Salmond highlighted concerns that one particular multi-national supermarket was demanding lump-sum payments from its suppliers to meet the cost of a price-cutting promotion.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"It is very much to the credit of the Competition Commission that they have pressed on with this investigation in spite of extreme pressure from the multi-national supermarkets.

"The Competition Commission uncovered what they called "significant evidence" of problems in the way supermarkets treat their suppliers, which bears out the testimonies of many suppliers who have been forced into accepting cuts in payment for their produce or, in some cases, paying for the supermarkets' "two-for-one" promotions.

"With the protection of an Ombudsman, suppliers will be able to invest in their business and produce a greater range of quality products for consumers without the fear that they will be blacklisted by supermarkets of face hefty losses because they have been "chosen" to fund a buy-one-get-one-free offer."

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

"As the scheme will be funded by a complaints-based system, if the supermarkets are as ethical as they claim then they will have nothing to fear from the new Ombudsman service as the costs to them will be minimal."

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WHITEFORD HAILS TURRIFF MAY DAY SUCCESS

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has hailed the success of Turriff's May Day event.

Speaking in Turriff during the May Day event, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"Praise must go to Turriff Business Association and everyone involved in making today's event such a great success for the town.

"The event attracted a huge number of people and there was a real buzz about the town. I was very impressed with the range of attractions on offer and I hope that local businesses will have seen their efforts rewarded by this increased number of customers.

"Turriff is very fortunate in that it retains a large number of locally-owned, independently-run businesses. It certainly allows initiatives like May Day, now in its 22nd year, to flourish."

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