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Eilidh Whiteford is MP for Banff & Buchan

Pensions Secure and More Affordable in an Independent Scotland

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Following a report in today’s Sunday Post citing letters from private and public organisations about pensions being unaffected by a YES vote and independence, the SNP has reiterated that the people of Scotland can look forward to safer state pensions and should dismiss the NO campaign’s scaremongering.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“As these letters covering private, public and armed forces pensions make absolutely clear, all pensions are totally secure in an independent Scotland. Scotland would be in the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world, and a smaller share of our tax revenues and national income are spent on pensions compared to the UK as a whole - which means that pensions are more affordable for an independent Scotland. And with the powers of independence, we will have the triple lock to ensure that the state pension rises by at least 2.5 per cent a year - and we will review Westminster's unfair decision to keep raising the state pension age."


click to read whole letter
DWP pension letter quote:

"If Scotland does become Independent this will have no effect on your State Pension"
click to read whole letter
MoD Royal Navy pension letter quote:

"The Government of the continuing UK would have a legal obligation to ensure that accrued pension rights for members of the Armed Forces are met, irrespective of where they retire."
click to read whole letter
Daily Mail pension letter quote:

"I can confirm that should there be a Yes vote in the 2014 Scotland Referendum the benefit you have accrued in the scheme would be unaffected."
click to read whole letter
HSBC pension letter quote:

"I confirm that your pension plan will not be affected should Scotland vote for independence."

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New Post Office Van a Welcome Service for Rural Communities

Friday, 29 August 2014

Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the addition of a brand new post van to the Post Office’s rural fleet, after officially opening the service on Thursday.

Dr Whiteford met with Subpostmaster Moira Raeburn at the ceremony in Rothienorman’s Public Car Park. The new van, operates out of Turriff, and stops at Rothienorman, Cuminestown and Udny Station. The new vans have been designed specifically to welcome disabled customers, and replace the previous LDV vehicles, which have travelled around three million miles over the past six years.

Cutting the ribbon, Dr Whiteford said:

“The new van is a welcome upgrade to the Post Office fleet, and I am pleased to officially launch the new service today. Outreach services are vital to rural communities across Banff and Buchan, and the improved accessibility will benefit villagers in Rothie and Cuminestown."

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UK Government Slammed as Health Experts Issue Malnutrition Warning

Sunday, 24 August 2014


"YES VOTE NEEDED TO USE SCOTLAND’S WEALTH"

The Scottish National Party has slammed the UK government for their cuts to welfare following a warning on an increase of malnutrition from health experts.

The Faculty of Public Health have said conditions such as rickets are becoming more apparent because people cannot afford quality food in their diet. It comes after health figures recently revealed a 19% increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past year.

Earlier this year, figures from the Trussell Trust revealed that use of their foodbanks had increased by 400% in the last year alone as Westminster’s welfare cuts continue to bite.

Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz said this week that Scotland would have more success in tackling inequality than the rest of the UK – highlighting that Scotland takes a “different view from say the Cameron Conservative policies...”.

Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“It’s almost unbelievable that rickets and other symptoms of malnutrition are on the increase in Scotland in 2014. It’s completely unacceptable.

“Westminster’s welfare cuts have had a devastating effect on the most disadvantaged people in Scotland and new cuts could push 100,000 more children in Scotland into poverty.

“As Professor Joseph Stiglitz said this week, Scotland has the political will to truly tackle inequality and make our country a fairer place.

“A Yes vote next month is our one opportunity to rid ourselves of the Westminster establishment and its obsession with austerity – creating a welfare state that is a springboard to a better life, not one that leads people to a life of malnourishment and rickets.”

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Whiteford: YES Vote is One Opportunity to Secure NHS for the Future

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has urged undecided voters to take the opportunity of independence to secure the future of the NHS as a free and open health service – and to consider the implications a No vote would have for Scotland’s future funding.

Picking up on comments from the unionist parties over recent months, Dr Whiteford claimed Scotland stands to face significant cuts through the scrapping of the Barnett Formula.

Scrapping the Barnett Formula was one of the recommendations of the LibDem’s commission on further powers. Senior Labour figures including Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones[1], Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls[2] and Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith[3] have all recently called for it to be scrapped. Prime Minister David Cameron stated in 2010 that “the Barnett Formula is coming to the end of its life”, and in 2013 refused to guarantee its future.[4]

Dr Whiteford said:

“All the evidence points to the fact that the unionist parties are agreed on cutting the Barnett Formula in the event of a 'no' vote. If the Barnett Formula is cut, it would mean £4 billion a year less coming to Scotland.

“Barnett represents a pretty poor deal at the best of times – Scotland already contributes far more revenue to the UK than it receives back. However, ending Barnett will ensure that what we receive back is even less. To put those numbers into perspective, a £4 billion cut represents a third of Scotland’s current NHS budget. That’s the equivalent to five times NHS Grampian’s annual budget of £777 million. It is difficult to overstate the sort of damage such a cut to the Scottish Government’s grant would do.

“In tandem with the direct threat to the current funding arrangements is the prospect that privatisation of NHS services in England will have an impact on the budget allocation for Scotland. The English NHS is in chaos because of the UK Coalition Government’s privatisation policies – and any cuts to the English NHS budget will have a direct impact on funding for services in Scotland.

“Everyone should know that a No vote isn’t a vote for no change – it’s a vote for Scotland’s budget to be tied to Westminster’s austerity policies, and for electors in Scotland to place their services at the mercy of the Tory-led Government in London. Devolution allows us to improve our services – but it gives us no control whatsoever over the size of the funding pot.

“There’s a better way forward – and that’s for the Scottish Parliament to have full responsibility for its budget, with a Yes vote in September.”


Notes:
  1. http://yoursenedd.com/debates/2014-03-25-questions-to-the-first-minster#150401
  2. Speaking to Insider (06-Dec-2011) before addressing a CBI Wales dinner, he said:
    "It [the Barnett Formula] was never intended to be long term. We are getting to the point where it needs to be looked at again … I have read the Holtham report [on funding] and I understand the arguments."
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110118/halltext/110118h0001.htm
  4. http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/8484-p4bn-cut-to-scottish-budget-looms-as-cameron-letter-fails-to-curb-barnett-fears

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