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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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YOUR SCOTLAND, YOUR VOICE

Monday, 30 November 2009


First Minister Alex Salmond today published the Scottish Government's White Paper - Your Scotland, Your Voice - which paves the way for the people of Scotland to be given the right to choose their constitutional future in a referendum.

Scottish Ministers believe that independence delivers a new 21st century partnership of equals between Scotland and England - including giving the Scottish Government and Parliament the responsibilities needed to fight recession, support jobs, and maximise the opportunities that will come with recovery.

As well as setting out the case for independence in more depth and detail than ever before, the White Paper also examines the other constitutional options open to Scotland: the status quo, the proposals of the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution, and maximum devolution including fiscal autonomy.

Mr Salmond said:

"Following a decade of devolution and the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament, there is now a clear and consistent demand for further constitutional progress for Scotland and extending the powers of the Parliament.

"The vast majority of people want to expand the responsibilities of the Parliament, so that we have more powers to do more for Scotland - the economic and financial clout to fight recession and support recovery, the right to speak up for Scotland in Europe, and the ability to remove Trident nuclear weapons from our soil.

"The National Conversation has spearheaded that process, and engaged all those who want to move Scotland forward - both in terms of more responsibilities, and a complete extension of powers with independence. It culminates in this White Paper, paving the way for a Referendum Bill early next year to give voice to the democratic demand of Scotland.

"The debate in Scottish politics is no longer between change or no change - it's about the kind of change we seek, and the right of the people to choose their future in a free and fair referendum.

"The White Paper examines the options open to Scotland: no more powers under the status quo, a few more powers with Calman, a lot more powers through maximum devolution, and the complete extension of the powers of the Scottish Parliament with independence - the policy of the Scottish Government. This historic document sets out the case for Scottish independence with unprecedented depth and clarity.

"Popular opinion in Scotland has moved far beyond the status quo. And Calman has also been shown to fall behind the needs of the people - with the UK Government refusing to make any progress on important issues such as air weapons this side of the election, and substantial doubt as to what if anything will happen afterwards.

"This White Paper charts the route to progress for Scotland - and we are calling on people of all parties and none who want real and substantive additions to the powers of the Parliament to rally to the referendum campaign. That is why we are open to including the option of such powers on the referendum ballot paper, alongside independence.

"It's time for the people to have their say on Scotland's future."

Constitution Minister Michael Russell said:

"The National Conversation has been the most extensive engagement with the people of Scotland on the future of our nation. Today's White Paper is a broad and detailed assessment of where Scotland stands today and the options for our nation's future.

"The people of Scotland have expressed their hopes, views and aspirations through the National Conversation. Their voice must be heard in a referendum, and no politician should seek to stand in their way."

To download your copy of the White Paper click here

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STEVENSON & WHITEFORD WELCOME REVIEW OF SHOW AND GALA REGULATIONS

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


GRAMPIAN POLICE TO LOOK AGAIN AT REQUIREMENTS

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson and SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford have welcomed the commitment from Grampian Police that they will be reviewing the requirements placed on local shows and galas.

The SNP candidate and MSP met with Grampian Police Area Commander for Aberdeenshire Superintendent Mark McLaren where the issue was raised. Stewart Stevenson described the meeting as "extremely positive" and welcomed the recognition by the police that changes in the approach taken were necessary.

Speaking after the meeting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"This was an extremely positive meeting and I was very pleased that there was recognition on the part of the police that the burden placed on local events by licensing conditions was in need of review.

"Indeed, some progress has already been made in this regard and I was delighted to learn that the police have already met with licensing board members and officials to review and reduce the number of conditions which they will be seeking in future."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford commented:

"There is no doubt in my mind that the strain being placed on volunteers by excessive demands and regulations may threaten the viability of our local shows and galas as more and more volunteers simply walk away.

"I am therefore delighted that lessons are being learned from this summer and I am hopeful that the volunteers who give up so much of their time to organise their local shows and galas will see a tangible reduction in the number of requirements placed upon them in future."

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WHITEFORD CONDEMNS FUEL POLICY THAT DAMAGES NORTH-EAST

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

LABOUR’S FUEL TAX HINDERS RECOVERY

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has highlighted figures showing that the costs of diesel with tax in the UK makes it the most expensive in Europe and warned that the UK Labour Government must take account of how its road fuel taxes are affecting the transport industry and the costs of goods in terms of economic recovery.

The impact disproportionately affects the North-east and other areas of rural Scotland, where it adds significantly to the cost of exporting and importing goods.

The latest figures from the European Commission’s Directorate General Energy and Transport – published last week - show that diesel in the UK is the most expensive in Europe at 1.23 Euros a litre. This compares with an EU average on 1.06 Euros a litre.

However when tax is excluded the price of diesel in the UK drops dramatically and is the second lowest in Europe at 0.44 Euros a litre. Only Bulgaria is lower at 0.42 Euros a litre.

The SNP candidate is concerned that the high price of diesel is damaging economic recovery in Banff & Buchan and the many rural industries, including the agricultural sector that have to use diesel powered vehicles on a daily basis.

Commenting on the impact of Labour's fuel tax policy the SNP's Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The Treasury’s tax take on diesel is modern day highway robbery. It is a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying more than 30p a litre more than motorists in Romania and Bulgaria.

“Key sectors like the haulage industry are reeling from forecourt costs, and Alistair Darling must use his Pre-Budget report next month to bring down the cost of fuel. Another factor that cannot be ignored is how these costs impact on the costs of goods in the stores for ordinary households.

"Economic recovery is being slowed by the cost of transporting goods and raw materials and is making the North-east and Scotland as a whole less competitive in critical global markets.

"Here in Banff & Buchan we have high quality food and drink manufacturers that have to compete with companies elsewhere who can get their goods to market much more cheaply. The result is slower recovery, fewer jobs and less money coming into the local economy.

"Our vital haulage industry and the many producers in Banff & Buchan need all the support they can get and that is simply not happening with this oppressive fuel tax regime."

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WHITEFORD & WATSON WELCOME MACDUFF REGENERATION CASH BOOST

Friday, 13 November 2009

JOY AS BANFFSHIRE PORT NETS £¼ MILLION FOR IMPROVEMENTS

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and Troup councillor Bob Watson have expressed their delight at the announcement that Macduff has been successful in bidding for funding from the SNP Government's Town Centre Regeneration Fund.

A grant programme to provide funds for improvements to public areas and shop fronts was put forward under the auspices of Aberdeenshire Council and Minister for Housing & Communities Alex Neil MSP confirmed today that Macduff's bid had been successful.

Today's announcement comes just weeks after Finance Secretary John Swinney announced that funding of over £168,000 for the Moray Street Insulation Project in Macduff as part of the Scottish Government's first Energy Efficiency Design Awards which is aimed at helping to cut bills for people living in fuel poverty and reduce emissions.

Local SNP councillor Bob Watson said:

"I'm delighted that Macduff is set to benefit from this latest round of Scottish Government regeneration funding. The town centre has suffered in recent years, but this cash will help support new local initiatives and make some much-needed improvements.

"I am glad the SNP Government has recognised the importance of the town centre to the wider community, and is providing the support needed to move things forward."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford, who lives in the town, added:

"This announcement is great news for Macduff. It will be a welcome boost to everyone who has been working hard locally to secure investment in the town, and get new projects off the ground."

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson concluded:

"Macduff has had its share of problems in recent times but the town still has great potential. The commitment shown to Macduff by the SNP Government firstly through the Moray Street Insulation Project and now with the town's successful bid for funding from the Regeneration Fund gives us a real opportunity to move Macduff forward.

"I'm delighted that it is the SNP Government which is doing so."

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CCTV PILOT SCHEME PRODUCING 'HUGELY IMPRESSIVE' RESULTS

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A trial scheme currently being piloted on a number of Scottish trawlers involving the voluntary use of CCTV has been hailed for its 'impressive results'.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead is now seeking additional catch quota opportunities for vessels using CCTV next year. He said that developing more intuitive means of counting effort as actual fishing time, not just time away from port, is also a priority. He said this is 'potentially a major step' in raising awareness of the benefits of CCTV as a management tool.

Speaking at a conference recently, the Fisheries Secretary said that a Scottish CCTV pilot launched in August involving seven vessels is already producing 'hugely impressive' results. This type of initiative rewards management measures, whilst at the same time cutting discards.

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford welcomed the progress being made on the issue and said:

"The initial results of this trial are very promising. I hope that the Danish and Scottish experience of CCTV will provide enough justification to allow a trial of a catch quota system next year.

"Scotland has already designed and implemented measures to improve fisheries management, and I am proud to see them at the forefront of developing new thinking for the future. The European Commission must keep an open mind to allow Scotland to demonstrate innovative fisheries management.

"Further cuts in quota are due to come in next year that will have a serious impact on our white fish fleet. Doing nothing is not an option. Those who stand on the sidelines complaining about the CCTV pilot scheme need to tell us what they would do instead."

Commenting, 'Fairline' skipper John Buchan, who is taking part in the pilot scheme said:

"The reason for having the CCTV is to open the possibility of being able to land more fish as a result. With cutbacks on the cards for whitefish next year, I need to keep my business viable.

"This is a voluntary scheme, and I put my name forward for it. It's all very well to complain about CCTV, but what would those complaining propose instead? The situation with discards is an absolute disgrace and CCTV cameras are the only viable proposal put forward so far.

"We should also remember that retailers increasingly want assurances about the sustainability of their supplies, which this also help ensure."

Commenting on the local Tory candidate's claim that the voluntary CCTV scheme was an invasion of privacy, Peterhead councillor Stephen Smith added:

"I'm impressed with the commitment of skippers like John Buchan to volunteer for this because they feel it will help their industry. It really is quite comical for a star of reality television who invited an entire camera crew on his boat to film for primetime TV to complain about a pilot scheme aimed at helping the industry as an invasion of privacy!"

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LOCAL BOATS LEADING THE WAY IN FIGHT AGAINST DISCARDS

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

WHITEFORD AND SALMOND WELCOME INNOVATIVE APPROACH

The first trial of new selective fishing gears underway in the North Sea, as part of the SNP Government's 'land more, catch less' approach, has been welcomed by SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and local MP Alex Salmond. The Fraserburgh-registered Caspian, a whitefish boat, is one of five vessels taking part. Both whitefish and prawn gears will be used in the trials.

On Friday the Caspian started using equipment which prevents unwanted cod from being discarded, whilst at the same time allowing groundfish such as monkfish and megrim to be caught.

The move is the latest initiative in the SNP Scottish Government's drive to allow our fishermen to land more of what they catch and to end the waste of discards.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"These trials are to be welcomed as they will help tackle the sheer waste of discards, and allow fishermen to gain more days at sea. At a time when our fishing industry is under a lot of financial pressure, with the effects of the recession compounding the underlying problems caused by European regulations, this scheme will help ensure our fishing industry remains both economically and environmentally sustainable."

Alex Salmond MP added:

“The Scottish Government has already provided £95,000 for the development of the highly selective gear known as the 'Orkney Trawl'. This is now being used by whitefish boats to help fish more sustainably and also to boost their days at sea under the cod recovery plan.

”When fully developed, the new selective gears will allow Scottish fishermen to buy back additional days at sea through the Conservation Credits Scheme in the 2010/11 fishing year.

“By taking innovative measures such as this, along with help from the Scottish Government, our fleet can help to end wasteful discarding. Once more, Scotland is leading the way in ensuring that our fisheries can be a sustainable resource into the future.”

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WHITEFORD VISITS PETERHEAD LIFEBOAT

Sunday, 8 November 2009


SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford paid a visit to the Peterhead Lifeboat last week.

The SNP candidate took time out to hand over a donation to the RNLI from local MP Alex Salmond. The Banff & Buchan MP took part in a recent research survey being conducted by a national company which offered a small sum of money to a local good cause for his time. Mr Salmond nominated the Peterhead lifeboat as a worthy recipient.

Whilst there, local RNLI official Andy Elliot gave Eilidh a tour of the lifeboat and briefed her on operations at the station.

Speaking afterwards, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"The RNLI plays a vital role in the coastal communities of the North-east. We owe a huge debt to those people who are prepared to give their time and risk their lives as volunteers on the lifeboat.

"This was the first time I have been aboard "The Misses Robertson of Kintail", and I was really impressed by the incredible technology on display. This is a real state-of-the-art vessel of which Peterhead can be justifiably proud."

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OBITUARY: MARY CHRISTIAN TAIT, FORMER PETERHEAD TOWN COUNCILLOR

Friday, 6 November 2009


Former Town Councillor Chris Tait died on 30 October. Here, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford pays tribute to Chris's dedication to community service:

Mary Christian Tait (nee Buchan), known to all as Chris, was born in 1926, at the family home in Roanheads. Chris attended the North School and Peterhead Academy, where she achieved excellent grades, before enrolling at Webster's College in Aberdeen where she specialised in Secretarial Studies.

While a student in Aberdeen, Chris became involved with the Scottish National Party, an association that was to last for the rest of her life, and in the 1960s she was elected to Peterhead Town Council, one of only a very small number of women of her generation to hold elected public office.

In her professional life, Chris worked as a secretary for a number of local firms, including Sutherlands of Peterhead, Cleveland Twist Drill, Euclid, and the Kirkburn Mills, from where she retired 23 years ago. She also spent some time working in Canada.

Chris married Joseph Tait, a baker, in 1965. They were both active members of the Peterhead Baptist Church, and assisted with the Church Youth Club. Joseph died in 1981.

Chris combined a deep faith with a keen awareness of local and national events, and always had an astute analysis of current affairs. In particular, she gave great support and encouragement to the young people she met in church and political environments.

When I was a young SNP activist, Chris was always ready to share her wisdom; her confidence that Scotland was on the road to independence and a better future was a great inspiration to me, and others. She was also famous for popping into the SNP office with ‘fine pieces’ for the staff!

Just a week before she took ill, Chris attended an SNP function in New Deer to mark my formal adoption as candidate for Banff & Buchan at the next Westminster election, telling friends afterwards that she’d had an excellent evening. Chris will be warmly remembered by those who knew her, and greatly missed. She is survived by her sister Elizabeth (Betty).

Mrs Chris Tait (nee Buchan), 1926 - 2009

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SALMOND SLAMS FAREPAK ADMINISTRATORS AS FUNDS GO TO ACCOUNTANTS NOT CUSTOMERS

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

ADMINISTRATORS TAKE HALF FAREPAK PAY OUT

Administrators have taken half the money recovered from the collapsed Farepak hamper firm, while customers continue to wait for compensation.

Media reports show that of the £6 million recovered so far, £3 million has paid the bills of accountants and lawyers.

Meanwhile customers are expected to receive only 5p for every pound lost and a report into the collapse has still to be published.

Banff & Buchan MP Alex Salmond, who took up the cases of many constituents who lost money in the collapse of Farepak said:

“It is the final insult that, after three years, the Farepak victims have been left with pennies while the administrators have made millions.

“Farepak victims have already seen the bankers that shut them down walk away with their bonuses and benefits packages – now they are seeing the organisation supposed to recover the money taking more than it is giving.

“I hope this situation can be resolved and Farepak victims will finally receive a decent compensation package.

“The UK Government needs to take a serious look at the workings of the insolvency industry which is raking in a fortune at the expense of creditors.”

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WHITEFORD LENDS SUPPORT TO DEVERONVALE ANNUAL DINNER

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford showed her support for local team Deveronvale Football Club by attending their annual dinner last Friday.

The event – which had SFA Chief Executive Gordon Smith and local MP Alex Salmond as guest speakers for the evening – was a huge success with a large turnout of players, officials and supporters.

Commenting after Friday's event, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"Deveronvale has had a great start to the season, which is testament to everyone involved. I certainly wish them well, and hope their current run of form continues.

"It's also great to see such strong community involvement in everything the club is doing, on and off the pitch."

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