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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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MP Highlights Six 'Gains of Independence' for Women

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Following Nicola Sturgeon’s keynote address at the Scottish Women's Convention on Saturday, SNP MP for Banff & Buchan Dr Eilidh Whiteford has highlighted six “gains of independence” for women – in childcare, the minimum wage, equalities issues, pensions, benefits, and economic opportunities.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“We know that independence will give us the ability to create a fairer, more prosperous country and Nicola Sturgeon’s speech comes as a welcome confirmation of the gains of independence for women in particular.

“The Scottish Government’s transformational childcare policies will allow us to increase female participation in the labour market, with a resultant boost to the Scottish economy.

“Many women work in low paid jobs, and with the guarantee that the minimum wage will rise at least in line with inflation every year, we can make sure that the lowest paid in our society are treated fairly and improve the standards of living of families across Scotland.

“With independence, Scotland will have responsibility for equalities legislation, which will allow us to tackle the deep seated gender inequalities that have held women back for too long.

“As things stand, young women entering the workforce will have to work until they are 70, while life expectancy in Scotland is still lower than elsewhere. With independence, we will be able to make sure that the retirement age reflects Scottish circumstances.

“A Yes vote will allow us to protect the independence of women in the benefits system. Under the Tories’ controversial welfare reform plans, Universal Credit will be paid in a single household payment, which could lead to a return of the ‘male breadwinner’ notion, leading to real hardship for many women and children. The Scottish Government would reverse those changes and protect the right of individuals to receive payments in their own right.

“Finally, independence will allow us to create more employment opportunities for women. The latest figures show that female employment has risen by 62,000 in the last year. With the full powers of independence, we will be able to do so much more.”

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Local MP Launches 'Boost Bingo' in Fraserburgh

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has helped launch the Bingo Association’s ‘Boost Bingo’ campaign locally.

The SNP MP took part in an event at the Carlton Bingo Club in Fraserburgh where she called the numbers in one of the games, which included a free game for customers.

The event, which officially launched the Bingo Association’s ‘Boost Bingo’ campaign, saw free games of bingo played in nearly 400 clubs around the UK.

The Boost Bingo campaign, calls on the Westminster Government to bring tax on bingo in line with other popular leisure pursuits. Most other gambling activities are taxed at 15%, but the bingo industry has been subjected to bingo duty at 20%.

The Boost Bingo campaign is calling for the Westminster Government to lower the excessive tax burden, which is preventing investment, modernisation and job creation.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“I am delighted to support the Boost Bingo campaign in Banff & Buchan. Bingo brings adults of all ages together to socialise in a lively and fun environment, and I am fully behind this campaign. I thoroughly enjoyed the Boost Bingo event and hope people will sign the petition to support their local club.”

A recent survey found 61% of UK adults said they feel bingo clubs provide an important local service, and bring communities together. This was reflected in the great turn-out seen at the event on Friday.

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Women Stand to Gain Most from a YES Vote

Saturday, 18 January 2014


"BETTER DECISIONS ON ECONOMY, WELFARE AND SOCIAL POLICY"

The Scottish National Party's Work and Pensions Spokesperson at Westminster, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, said today [Saturday] that it was important that women debate the opportunities offered by the independence referendum, and argued that women had the most to gain from a Yes vote.

Dr Whiteford referred to remarks from the NO perspective also being made this weekend by Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran. Dr Whiteford said:

"Margaret Curran is absolutely right that we need to engage woman across Scotland in the referendum debate, and the huge gain of a YES vote is that the Scottish Parliament will take far better decisions than Westminster on the economy, welfare and social policy to boost the circumstances and opportunities for all.

“The welfare state is being dismantled by Westminster and woman are being the hardest hit - I believe that women have the most to gain from a YES vote and an independent Scotland.

"Labour rightly lambasts decisions taken at Westminster on pensions, tax and maternity leave which damage the interests of women in particular - yet they prefer to have these vital areas of policy decided by Tories in London, even though there is just one Tory MP in Scotland, rather than in an independent Scottish Parliament.

"It is only with the financial powers of an independent Scotland that we can deliver the policies the SNP are pledged to - transform childcare to Scandinavian standards, building up to 1,140 hours for all children from age one to primary school, which will help more women into the workplace; increase the minimum wage by at least the cost of living every year; reverse the welfare reforms that will hit women the hardest, particularly the plan to pay benefit to the household instead of directly to second earners; protect women’s pensions; and guarantee more women in the boardroom.

"These are just some of the things we can achieve with a YES vote.

“However, Margaret Curran is right that both sides have a duty to provide information, which is exactly why the Scottish Government produced 'Scotland’s Future', a detailed 670-page guide to an independent Scotland - while the NO campaign refuse to publish any information or answer any questions about the dangers and downsides of a NO vote.

“The reality is that women will look at both sides of the argument, and consider whether the best future for them and their families is a Scotland making its own decisions to build a fairer, more prosperous society - or a Westminster system that is destroying the very welfare system that has helped women achieve greater equality."

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MP Backs New Project to Help Vulnerable Children

Saturday, 11 January 2014

A unique new partnership project has been launched in Fraserburgh to support vulnerable children and families in Aberdeenshire.

(l to r): Fiona Allan, Children 1st; Colin Mackenzie; Eilidh Whiteford MP; David Milliken, Home Start Scotland; Alison Todd, Children 1st; John Tait, deputy area manager, NHS Grampian; Christian Allard MSP; Melanie Fraser, Home Start North East Aberdeenshire.
“Working together to support families in Banff & Buchan” is a Public Social Partnership between leading Scottish children’s charity Children 1st and Home-Start North East Aberdeenshire. The project aims to improve and safeguard the well-being of children up to the age of 5 years. It will provide support to families in Fraserburgh and across Banff & Buchan who are not accessing free universal services such as education and healthcare either due to remote location, language barriers or high deprivation.

The project aims to support families to:
  • build stronger relationships in their family
  • feel less marginalised and more included
  • make better use of local services
  • help their children have fun and enjoy the opportunity of new experiences
  • have happier, safer homes with happier, safer children.
Parentline Scotland, the helpline and email service for anyone caring for, or concerned about a child which is run by CHILDREN 1ST will provide a contact helpline to ensure families can receive immediate counselling support at times outwith the service.

Alison Todd, Director of Children and Family Services for CHILDREN 1ST said:

“CHILDREN 1ST has a strong history of supporting vulnerable children and families in the Fraserburgh area and we are looking forward to working in partnership with Home-Start NEA to offer a tailored support to parents and children who are currently falling through the gap in community services. As a charity dedicated to helping children, we know that often the best way to do this is by supporting families. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs many of us will ever do, and we want to see more emphasis given to providing help for families at an early stage when they need it, rather than waiting until things have reached crisis point.”

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan said:

“I welcome the creation of the Working together to support families in Banff & Buchan project to the area and look forward to hearing about the progress it makes in supporting vulnerable families. Parents in rural locations can often feel isolated and unable to access the supports and services they need, whether that’s because of language difficulties or deprivation. This Public Social Partnership is a great example of community services coming together to answer the needs of local people and I wish it every success.”

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Scotland's Rural Communities Short-Changed by Westminster

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Scottish National Party Westminster agricultural spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has said Scotland’s rural communities are short-changed on a range of policy issues by Westminster in a debate in the House of Commons today.

Dr Whiteford made reference to high energy and fuel costs, ineffective infrastructure for broadband and mobile connectivity and decreasing postal services as well as inadequate and unfair payments from the UK government of EU agricultural funds to Scottish farmers.

It follows Dr Whiteford’s Westminster Hall debate last month on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) convergence uplift. The UK has received an uplift of 230 million Euros in its CAP funding allocation because of the historically low rates of support per hectare paid in Scotland compared to farmers in other parts of the UK. However, rather than use the uplift for its intended purpose, the UK government has divided the extra funding across the whole of the UK, depriving Scottish farmers of what is due to them.

Commenting after the debate, Dr Whiteford said:

“Westminster just doesn’t understand the needs of our rural communities, and as a result they are massively disadvantaged on a range of issues.

“Many in rural communities are off the gas grid so they tend to have higher energy costs. They also pay more in fuel which they rely on to get about and access public services- 60p of every £1 of fuel costs is sent straight to the Exchequer. Rural communities also suffer disproportionately due to decreased postal services and ineffective infrastructure for broadband and mobile connectivity, which are vital for many businesses.

“The economic vitality of our rural communities is also underpinned by our agricultural industries and the food and drink processing and distribution sectors that derive from them, yet Scottish farmers are hindered as they do not receive their due share of EU Common Agricultural payments.

“In September we have a choice of two futures. It’s becoming increasingly clear that a Yes vote is needed for Scotland’s rural communities."

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Tory Bedroom Tax Threat to OAPS

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Commenting on the news that a Tory MP said pensioners should no longer be exempt from paying the Bedroom Tax, SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“The Tories are showing their true colours early in the New Year. Julian Brazier MP may have let the cat out of the bag that elderly people – who are exempt from paying the hated tax – are now in the Tories’ sights.

“What he fails to realise however, is many pensioners on low incomes want to downsize but can't because there are not enough smaller houses- and the bedroom tax has increased demand.

“George Osborne has already promised new, massive cuts of £25 billion – including £12 billion from welfare. Westminster just do not get how tough things are for many Scots already suffering from UK government cuts. We know most Scots want welfare decisions to be made in Scotland and this is yet another reason to vote Yes for Scottish independence.”

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