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Eilidh Whiteford is MP for Banff & Buchan

MP Calls for Treasury to Take Urgent Action to Protect North Sea Jobs

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

SNP MP for Banff & Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, has called on the UK Government to take urgent action on tax in order to protect North Sea jobs, in a debate held in Westminster this week.

With a falling oil price, a number of announcements of job losses have been made by oil operators, including the announcement by Talisman Sinopec this week that they would shed up to 300 jobs. Last week, the Scottish Government launched an Energy Jobs Taskforce to combat job losses.

In a debate at Westminster, Dr. Whiteford called for the UK Treasury to immediately act on the tax regime for North Sea oil and gas companies to encourage investment. Speaking after the debate, Dr. Whiteford commented:

“Reform to the oil and gas fiscal regime must not wait until the budget, but must be implemented now and this should include a commitment from the UK Government to a substantial reduction in the Supplementary Charge rate, which they introduced in 2011 to disastrous effect. In addition, faster progress is also required on the establishment of the Oil and Gas Authority.

“The North Sea has suffered from an unstable and unpredictable fiscal regime for decades and companies now need urgent action in order to avoid the premature decommissioning of assets and the loss of highly skilled workers.

“Successive Westminster governments have been quick to squeeze the industry at any opportunity, but when support is needed they are far slower off the mark.

"A strong team of SNP MPs after the General Election will ensure that the needs of the sector cannot be put on the back burner, and that Westminster takes the action that is needed to protect jobs in the sector.”

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Whiteford Makes a Stand in Parliament Against Nuclear Weapons

Scottish Labour vote with Tories to spend £100bn on new weapons

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford made a stand in Parliament against nuclear weapons this week, voting to oppose the renewal of the £100bn Trident system.

The SNP’s motion debate at Westminster sought to cancel the next generation of deadly Trident nuclear weapons. Scottish Labour had threatened to boycott the debate but in an extraordinary decision – for the second time in two weeks - Labour have voted to support the Tories, this time on spending £100 billion on nuclear weapons. The SNP, together with a progressive alliance of the Greens and Plaid Cymru led the calls to have these weapons cancelled.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"It is absolutely indefensible and morally repugnant to waste £100bn on weapons of mass destruction whilst food bank use is rocketing, and more and more children are being pushed into poverty. I voted to oppose nuclear weapons in Parliament this week so that we can better spend these colossal sums of money on making a positive difference to our society.

"It is a sad indictment of what the Scottish Labour party has become that they voted to support the renewal of Trident - only a week after they voted to push through more Tory cuts.

“With a strong team of SNP MPs after the General Election, Scotland can hold the balance of power and can force Westminster to abandon this disastrous commitment – and ensure these immoral weapons are removed from Scotland for good.”

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Parliamentarians Highlight Call for New Volunteers

Monday, 19 January 2015

Mediation service Avenue on the look-out for new counsellors

Local parliamentarians Eilidh Whiteford MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP have urged volunteers to come forward after meeting with a local counselling charity’s managers on Friday.

 Liz Wallace, Stewart Stevenson MSP,
Eilidh Whiteford MP, Arlene Harvey
Dr Whiteford and Mr Stevenson met with Chief Executive Liz Wallace and Contact Centre Manager Arlene Harvey at Avenue’s Peterhead base, to discuss the charity's work in the North-east. Avenue provides a range of counselling and mediation services to families dealing with relationship breakdown, and works with dozens of families locally.

Chief Executive Liz Wallace said:

“Demand for our services has grown exponentially in recent years across the North-east. We are crying out for new volunteers who have the skills to take up this challenging, but deeply rewarding work."

Speaking after the meeting, Dr Whiteford said:

“It was good to hear more about what Avenue does locally, supporting families – largely through the efforts of volunteers.

“It’s a service which is always looking to recruit volunteers able to commit some time on a regular basis, and who receive full training and support, to help with this worthwhile service. I would encourage anyone who thinks they might have a listening ear and some time to spare to come forward."

Mr Stevenson added:

“Without third sector organisations like Avenue, many families would fall through the net. Although the North-east is one of Scotland’s wealthier areas overall, there remain significant problems with deprivation – and the reality is that family breakdown can affect anyone. The work being done at Avenue is invaluable."

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MP Highlights Work of Local Cancer Charity

​Peterhead, Turriff and Fraserburgh benefit from support services​

​B​anff​ and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has thanked staff at a local cancer charity for​ ​their hard work, following a meeting on Friday.

Lily Cowie, Eilidh Whiteford MP and Angie Christie
Dr Whiteford met with Area Co-ordinator Angie Christie at the charity's base at the Hot Spot in Peterhead, to discuss CLAN's work locally and to meet with volunteers.

As well as maintaining comfortable hotel-style accommodation in Aberdeen for cancer patients who live a long distance from ARI and their families, the charity offers drop-in support services in Peterhead on Wednesdays and Fridays, 10am-4pm, from its base in the town's Kirk Street. These include counselling, complementary therapies and advice on dealing with cancer and the effects of its treatment. CLAN also runs services in Turriff (Fridays, 10am-4pm), and Fraserburgh (Mondays, 10am-4pm).

Area Co-ordinator Angie Christie said:

​​"We're developing the service locally, and we welcome any help we can get from volunteers or fundraisers."

Speaking afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

​​"It was great meeting with Angie and the staff at CLAN to find out what the charity does locally. The range of services on offer is huge, and represents an extremely valuable local resource for those living with cancer."

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