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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Budget Blow For Pensioners A Talking Point On Buchan Doorsteps

Monday, 30 April 2012

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP has warned that the Chancellors decision to freeze personal tax allowances for the over-65s will hit pensioners hard.  Dr Whiteford contrasted the Coalition Government’s treatment of pensioners with tax cut given to the highest earners.

Higher personal tax allowances granted to those over the age of 65 – £10,500 for those aged 65 to 74 and £10,660 for those aged 75 plus (2012-13) – will be frozen until they come into line with the basic personal tax allowance.


Dr Whiteford also revealed that the changes affecting pensioners announced in the Budget had been a big talking point on the doorsteps during the local election campaign in Buchan.

Dr Whiteford said:

“The Budget truly failed the fairness test when millions of pensioners are penalised while millionaires get a tax cut from the Tories.

“While, as expected, the Chancellor increased personal tax allowances, his decision to freeze the higher age allowances granted to those aged over 65 will hit pensioners hard.

“I’ve found that this is a particular talking point on the doorsteps when I’ve been out with local council candidates and people are very concerned about the effects of the Chancellor’s decision to target pensioners in this way.”

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Charity Tax Relief Cap Backfires On Big Society

Monday, 16 April 2012

SNP URGE TREASURY RETHINK OVER PROPOSALS HARMFUL TO THIRD SECTOR

As the UK Government announce plans for a consultation over Budget plans to limit the tax relief on charitable donations, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP warned that the move would be deeply damaging for the third sector and undermined the Prime Minister’s ‘Big Society’ commitment.

Calling for the Chancellor to rethink his plans, Dr Whiteford warned that, in the current financial climate, the move will have an impact on charities, universities and cultural organisations who all rely on philanthropic giving to fund some of their activities.

Dr Whiteford said:

“We hear a lot of talk from the Prime Minister about the UK Government’s commitment to the ‘Big Society’, but plans for a charity tax relief cap will be hugely damaging for the third sector.

“The Treasury must step back from this measure which will be hugely detrimental to charitable giving.

“While the wealthiest should not be allowed to avoid their tax obligations, these proposals have the potential to be extremely harmful to the charity sector. UK Ministers do not seem to have made any assessment of how this will impact on charities.

“It is difficult enough, in the current financial climate, for Scottish charities and third sector organisations without a further reduction in what is an important source of funding.

“Indeed, these proposals will have an impact beyond the third sector with philanthropic giving an increasingly important element in funding Scottish universities.

“What a contrast between the UK Government position and the approach of the Scottish Government who recognise the valuable contribution charities make to Scottish society and is supporting the work of the charitable sector in Scotland.”

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Whiteford Welcomes New Sangs Owners To Macduff

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Banff and Buchan SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford this week met with the Managing Director of Sangs' new owner, Cott Beverages.

Welcoming the company to the local area, Dr Whiteford commended Cott Beverages for their positive comments in the press about avoiding redundancies at Sangs and for bringing new security to the jobs and production at the Macduff site.

Commenting on her meeting, Dr Whiteford said:

“I was really pleased to be able to meet with Sangs’ new Managing Director, and discuss his plans for the site here in Macduff.

“Throughout the time that Sangs were in administration, the staff were intensely loyal and optimistic about the company’s future. I am glad that this has been recognised by the new owners, Cott Beverages, and welcome their commitment to retaining jobs and production at the Macduff site.

“I was also delighted to hear of the new owners’ plans for improving production facilities, and I will be giving my full support to Cott Beverages as they seek to safeguard the future of Sangs in its Macduff home.”


Sangs, which entered administration at the turn of the year, was the subject of much public support in the local area. A Facebook campaign that was established to ‘Save Moray Cup’, attracted the interest of some 5,000 people.

Dr Whiteford added:

“I think local people will also be anxious to learn the future of favourite Sangs’ products such as Moray Cup. I am pleased to have been given assurances that Moray Cup will continue to be produced locally in Macduff and maintain its pride of place on North-east shop shelves.”

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Domestically Abused Women Unable To Vote Anonymously

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

WHITEFORD WRITES TO SCOTLAND OFFICE CALLING FOR ACTION TO END ANOMALY

The SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland calling for an end to delays from the Scotland Office in fixing a legal anomaly which could stop women who have been domestically abused from safely voting.

Women in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can register to vote anonymously by showing evidence of their legal protection from an abusive ex-partner – usually a civil protective order - to an electoral registration office, while in Scotland women with equivalent protection must apply to the Chief Constable or chief social work officer who has to “attest" that they have experienced abuse.

This added complication makes women less likely to vote and, according to women’s organisations, potentially adds to the risk for women who need to maintain anonymity to remain safe.

The legal anomaly arose because Scottish protective orders were not included in the list of prescribed orders when the regulations, contained in the Electoral Administration Act 2006, came into force.

In her letter Dr Whiteford questions why this issue has not been resolved six years after the regulations came into play, and called for a clear timetable and action plan to bring forward the necessary changes.

Dr Whiteford said:

“Women who have faced abuse are being let down by the system and that has to change.

“The Scotland Office has had six years to fix this legislative issue and make sure all women in Scotland can safely vote. Why have they not yet done so? These delays affect some of the most vulnerable women in society and are simply unjustifiable.

“It cannot be right that women struggling to rebuild their lives after domestic abuse feel they don’t have a voice. I have written today to the Scotland Office calling for a clear timetable to fix this anomaly.

“One in five Scottish women suffer domestic abuse at some point in their lives. It is a hidden scourge on society that needs to be tackled.

“It’s already too late for the upcoming local elections, but I call on The Scotland Office to take swift action and make sure that in future all women can exercise their right to vote, free from fear."

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Tories Fail on Family Values - Benefits Changes Could Split Families

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The SNP said the Prime Minister was spectacularly failing on his pledge to make the country the most "family-friendly" place in Europe.

"We need good, strong families to help our society work well. We will support families to stay together." - Conservative Manifesto 2010, page 6.
Changes to working tax credit which came into force on Friday (April 6) are the latest attack on low income families which could see couples financially better off splitting up.

Some couples will have to find an additional 8 hours work per week to qualify for working tax credit, as the threshold has risen from 16 to 24 hours, while that for lone parents remains at 16 hours.

Those unable to find extra work will see their income drop by £3,870 - plunging over 212,000 couples with 470,000 children into poverty.

The UK Government ignored calls from child poverty campaigners to delay the change until Universal Benefits came into force in 2013.

This attack on low earning couples comes as family budgets are already under immense pressure from soaring food and fuel prices, high childcare costs and caps to other benefits.

The SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, said

"When David Cameron was campaigning he claimed he would do everything he could to strengthen and support families.

“Yet at the flick of a pen the Tory-Lib Dem coalition have condemned thousands of families into poverty with this savage cut.

“The loss of working tax credit could make people financially better off as single parents. The changes could not only break up families, but prevent lone parents from getting together.

“These ill-thought out reforms are the latest of a series of attacks on the pockets of the poorest in society.

“From a pasty tax to soaring fuel costs, the Conservatives and their Lib-Dem sidekicks are making life tougher for lower earners while giving tax breaks to millionaires.

“Scottish Labour may carp from the sidelines but they still prefer to see Scottish families ground down by Tory-Lib Dem rule than create a fairer society in Scotland.”

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