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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Banff & Buchan MP Re-Elected Vice-Chair of Parliamentary Fisheries Group

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has been re-elected as a Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Fisheries Group.

The meeting, held today in the House of Commons, was attended by MPs from a range of constituencies with fishing interests. It was also attended by UK Government Fisheries Minister George Eustice MP who was questioned on a range of issues by the Banff & Buchan MP.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“I took the opportunity to press the Minister on the implementation of the ban on discards, which comes into effect for the pelagic fleet next January. It’s vitally important that Scottish fishermen are subject to the same compliance measures as the non-EU vessels that fish in our waters. It would be completely unacceptable if Scottish vessels were to be fishing alongside Norwegian vessels which are subject to different rules.”

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Local MP Urges Shoppers to Break the Bag Habit


Beach clean weekend highlights damaging effect of plastic bags on the environment

Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, joined environmental campaigners on a beach clean of High Shore in Macduff this weekend as a new Scottish Government scheme on reducing bag use came into effect.

From 20 October, shoppers will face a 5p minimum charge for use of a bag in a scheme that is designed to reduce use of bags and protect the environment. Around 750 million bags are used in Scotland every year.

Eilidh Whiteford joined the 'Surfers Against Sewage' group as they launched a beach clean at High Shore, Macduff on Saturdy, commenting:

"Carrier bags are a highly visible aspect of litter, and that has become clear in today's beach clean. By reducing the amount being carelessly discarded we can cut litter and its impact on our environment and economy. A small charge should also encourage us all to stop and think about what we discard and what can be re-used."

“We have seen elsewhere that carrier bag charging has been effective in encouraging people to reuse bags. This charge is not a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity - this could be up to £5 million per year after retailers have covered their costs."

“Thousands of Scottish people already use bags for life and some retailers already charge. It is now time, however, for a national effort.”

The Surfers Against Sewage campaign weekend concluded on Sunday with a clean-up of Banff Links.

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Parliamentarians Welcome Progress on Ambulance Response Times

Friday, 17 October 2014


MP & MSP secure commitment from Ambulance Service to improve in North Aberdeenshire

Following on a recent report that ambulances were failing to meet call-out target times in North Aberdeenshire, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP met with regional Scottish Ambulance Service chiefs to hear their plans on how to address the shortcomings.

The parliamentarians had earlier met with the chiefs and were told that the Service would produce a report aimed at identifying the improvements that were needed.

Commenting on the meeting, Banff & Buchan MP, Eilidh Whiteford, said:

“The Scottish Ambulance Service has made a welcome commitment to filling the current vacancies that exist in the north of Aberdeenshire and providing incentives to attract the best talent to the area. A fully staffed and trained service will go a long way to ensuring that residents in Banff and Buchan can come to expect improved response times."

"When I met with staff a few weeks ago, one of the priorities they identified was for additional A&E ambulance provision in Peterhead. I am very pleased that the Scottish Ambulance Service has listened, and has made a commitment to a second A&E ambulance in Peterhead which will go some way to relieving pressures at stations in Fraserburgh and Banff."

The Ambulance Service chiefs also informed the Parliamentarians that an additional paramedic response vehicle has been added to the station at Fraserburgh until a more detailed assessment of demand can be made.

Stewart Stevenson MSP added:

“The commitment of additional vehicles is a welcome step in addressing the demand profile that there is in Aberdeenshire. The extra paramedic vehicle in Fraserburgh and a commitment to assess the need for a second A&E ambulance based out of Peterhead will be key in bringing response times down."

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MP Backs Campaign for Lower Westminster Voting Age


Eilidh Whiteford supports Scottish Youth Parliament campaign for votes at 16

Banff and Buchan MP, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, today met with two budding politicians to discuss their campaign to have the voting age lowered to 16 for all elections.

Kain McLeod (left) & Robbie Nicoll MSYP (right)
with Eilidh Whiteford MP
The Scottish Government and UK Government had agreed to lower the voting age to enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the referendum on Scottish independence but the voting age remains at 18 for all other elections. However, Whiteford and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament Robbie Nicoll today used the opportunity of their meeting to issue a call for the voting age to be lowered permanently for all elections.

Commenting, Robbie Nicoll said:

"It is vital to build on the fantastic participation of 16 and 17 years in the Scottish referendum. They dispelled every myth surrounding lowering the voting age by doing research, raising their own issues and points and casting informed votes. I strongly believe that now is the time to give 16 and 17 year olds the permanent right to vote."

Dr Eilidh Whiteford added:

"It was a pleasure to meet with Robbie and I commend his hard work in campaigning on this issue. Some of the most informed voters that I spoke to during the referendum campaign were from our younger generation. It proves the point that young people of 16 and 17 are sensible and mature enough to vote in the Westminster election next May and all elections thereafter. I am pleased to add my support to Robbie's campaign and wish him all the best in his campaign to have him and his peers' right to vote recognised."

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New Deal for Railways Great News for North East Passengers and Rail Staff

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Whiteford welcomes new franchise announcement

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan, has welcomed the announcement by Scottish Government Transport Minister of a new deal for Scotland’s railways, with a new franchise agreement that will see reduced fares and better working conditions for staff.

Operator Abellio, which will take on the running of the £6billion franchise from 1 April 2015. Abellio will move their UK HQ to Glasgow creating 50 new jobs alongside 150 jobs secured from First.

As a result of the new deal, passengers and staff will enjoy a range of benefits including: advance fares starting at £5 between Scottish cities; a commitment to earnings of at least the Living Wage for all staff and subcontractors; at least 100 apprenticeships; a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies; rail staff pensions and travel rights protected; free wifi on all trains; a new approach to cycling with more than 3,500 parking spaces and bike-hire at a number of stations; 80 new trains due to arrive at start of December 2017; 23 per cent more carriages across the network.

Commenting, Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The new contract is great news for passengers in the North-east.

“The new deal will rejuvenate our rail service and deliver a first class service that will rival any public transport system in Europe.

“A large investment in new trains in the coming years is a welcome development in shortening journey times, and the pledge of £5 fares between Scotland’s major cities is a great step towards making public transport an affordable alternative to taking the car on long journeys.

“The pledge to pay Living Wage to all employees including subcontractors and the commitment to no compulsory redundancies is welcome news for those railway workers and with all staff to have their rail staff pensions and travel rights protected, this really does represent a better deal.

“The establishment of a new Scottish training academy will also help build a better rail industry for the future – and the commitment to 100 apprenticeships will help get things off to a flying start.”

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MP & Local Councillor on Official Opening of MACBI Centre

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford and Central Buchan SNP councillor Lenny Pirie have hailed the opening of the new MACBI Centre in Mintlaw.

Dr Whiteford and Cllr Pirie attended the official opening of the MACBI (Mintlaw & Central Buchan Initiative) community facility yesterday (Saturday), which attracted a large crowd of local people.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“This really is a fantastic facility and credit must go to the hard-working local committee who have pushed this project forward over the past ten years.

“The Centre will be a real boost for Mintlaw and Central Buchan and provide facilities for a range of organisations and community groups. Indeed, I’ve already held one of my surgeries in it a few months ago and can vouch for the facilities.

“I’m delighted for the committee that their hard work has paid off so handsomely and I’m sure they now look forward to seeing the building being very well-used by the local community.”

Cllr Lenny Pirie added:

“It was a great pleasure to attend the official opening and see just how well-received the new building has been by the local community.

“It boasts a great range of facilities from fitness areas to meeting space and will be a tremendous asset to the growing communities of Mintlaw and Central Buchan.”

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Charities Attack Tory Welfare Policies as "Deeply Cynical & Senseless"

Sunday, 5 October 2014


EXPERTS VIEW ON IMPACT OF TORY POLICIES MUST BE HEEDED

The SNP’s Welfare and Pensions Spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford has said that the UK Government must listen to the voices of leading charities and poverty experts who have spoken out about the deeply damaging effect of their welfare policies on Scotland’s poorest families.

The intervention follows George Osborne’s announcement at this week’s Tory conference that a further £3bn is to be cut from the welfare bill, with benefits frozen for two years. These cuts are expected to hit 1 million families in Scotland. But when Mr Osborne made this announcement it was met with cheers from Tory delegates.

As reported in today’s Sunday Herald a wide range of organisations including Shelter Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, Shelter Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group, SCVO, the Poverty Alliance, Positive Action in Housing, Barnardo’s in Scotland, the Poverty Truth Commission, the Big Issue and the Trussell Trust, have spoken out and raised their concerns.

Commenting Dr Whiteford said:

“The warnings of these respected experts on poverty and welfare issues must be heeded before increasingly damaging Tory policies drive more into poverty. 100,000 more children in Scotland already face being pushed into poverty as a result of the Tories’ sustained attack on hard working and vulnerable families. Reports today that George Osborne’s benefits freeze will hit 1 million families in Scotland are deeply worrying.

“As their intervention shows this is no longer just a debate between politicians - now those people and organisations who work daily to help tackle poverty and deprivation are giving a stark warning which both Westminster and the wider Scottish society must heed.

“Westminster has proven time and time again it cannot be trusted when it comes to welfare. It is time for the Scottish Parliament to have the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country and address the causes of inequality."

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