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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SNP WILL CHAMPION SCOTLAND’S RURAL INTERESTS

Monday, 26 April 2010

UK PARTIES FAIL SCOTLAND’S FARMERS

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford
has welcomed the commitment to Scotland’s farmers and rural communities set out in the SNP’s priorities for agriculture.

The commitment was launched by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, who said that Scotland’s farmers needed local and national champions at Westminster, working with Scotland’s farmers, crofters, food producers and Scotland’s Government to ensure the best deal for the industry.

Speaking at the publication of the SNP’s priorities for agriculture, Richard Lochhead said:

"The SNP is now firmly established as rural Scotland's champion and our rural communities must make their voice heard in the coming elections.

"A successful rural economy needs successful agriculture. Our farmers are the best in the world and that’s why we have outstanding landscapes and produce some of the world’s most famous food and drink. The invaluable role farming plays means the industry deserves public support and is a high priority in the eyes of the SNP.

“Scotland’s farmers and crofters need local and national champions in Westminster to ensure the industry’s voice is heard in the vital years ahead. There are big decisions coming up that will be made by the UK Government. Without the SNP, the distinctive needs of Scottish agriculture will be ignored.

“With the Common Agricultural Policy about to be renegotiated, the need for strong Scottish voices to champion the farming sector’s cause in Westminster could not be greater.

“The partnership developed between the Scottish Government and our farmers has helped nurture the mood of returning optimism in Scottish agriculture.

“Farming is now at the heart of the Scottish Government’s agenda. The demand for Scottish food produce is on the up and food security is now recognised as a major issue.

“That’s why the SNP Government has set up the Pack Inquiry to look at the future of agriculture policy from the Scottish perspective and why in Holyrood and in Brussels we are opposed to the UK Government’s plans to scrap support for our farmers.

“Many vitally important decisions will be taken in London in the next few years that will require Scottish Champions within Westminster as well as a strong SNP Government in Holyrood.“


SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

“Food and farming is an essential part of the economy in Banff & Buchan and I am determined that our important industries should be properly represented in Westminster.

“If left to their own devices, we know from bitter experience that the London parties will not hesitate in negotiating poor deals for rural Scotland in Brussels and that’s why of all EU countries, Scotland currently has the lowest level of European rural development funding – we even have the lowest in the UK!

“Each and every SNP MP elected on May 6th will champion Scottish causes and ensure the needs of Scotland’s farmers and rural communities are understood in the Westminster Parliament and I will make sure the interests of Banff & Buchan are at the front of that queue.”


SNP MPs' ten top priorities for agriculture:
  • a new Common Agriculture Policy that continues direct support for active Scottish farmers
  • an enhanced role for Scottish Ministers in EU agriculture negotiations
  • Fairer Fuel Prices – with a Fair Fuel Regulator and lower duty on rural
  • fuel to help rural communities
  • Country of Origin Labelling
  • A Supermarket Ombudsman
  • A fairer share of EU rural development funding
  • the early devolution of animal health budgets
  • an acceleration of measures to simplify EU regulation
  • the protection of the UK's agricultural and environmental science budgets
  • farmer friendly energy regulation to boost the sector's renewable opportunities

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15p IN THE POUND: A SETTLEMENT UNFAIR FOR ALL

LABOUR’S SHAMEFUL FAREPAK LEGACY

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has hit out at an “inadequate and unfair” settlement for the thousands of victims of the Farepak collapse and slammed the Labour Government for its repeated failure to step in to ensure compensation for the victims following confirmation that Farepak families are set to receive just 15p for every pound invested.

Commenting Dr Whiteford said:

“It is simply disgraceful that, three years after the Farepak collapse, 123,000 victims are still haunted by this ghost of Christmas past.

“It is a disgrace that thousands of low-income families, still struggling to find their feet, are set to receive this inadequate and unfair payout while the administrators have made millions.

“In Banff & Buchan and constituencies around the country, families have been hit financially by the Farepak collapse and they have not received a fair deal.

“After failing to secure adequate consumer protection and failing to ensure compensation for the victims, this is Labour’s legacy to thousands of families.

"Farepak should have been a stark warning to the UK Government to take serious and decisive action against the workings of the insolvency industry which is raking in a fortune at the expense of creditors. Unfortunately Labour’s failure to act has resulted in a settlement, unfair for all.”

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SNP PRESIDENT HELPS WHITEFORD LAUNCH CAMPAIGN NEWSPAPER IN ST COMBS

Friday, 23 April 2010

SNP President and local Member of the European Parliament Ian Hudghton helped Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford launch her campaign newspaper in St Combs this week.

The newspaper – the ‘Banff & Buchan Standard’ – has been produced by the local SNP and printed within the constituency, supporting local business. It features key SNP policies as well as updates on the progress made by the SNP Scottish Government in matters like freezing the Council Tax and cutting the cost of prescription charges.

Speaking in St Combs, Ian Hudghton said:

“I was delighted to be able to come to Banff & Buchan to help Eilidh’s campaign and launch her election newspaper, which is paid for entirely by the fundraising efforts of local members and supporters.

“Eilidh is an excellent candidate who will make a first class MP. She is a local person who lives in the constituency and knows the area well. I know that, in Eilidh, the people of Banff & Buchan will have someone well-able to champion their cause.”


SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

“I’m very grateful to Ian for taking time out to help me with my campaign.

“We chose to launch our election newspaper in St Combs because of the excellent response I have received from the residents there, many of whom I’m pleased to say are showing their support with campaign posters in their windows. The quality of the ice cream in St Combs was, of course, another good reason to go there!”

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WHITEFORD CONGRATULATES BROCH ACADEMY ELECTION VICTOR

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford took time out from campaigning at the weekend to congratulate Scot West, who was the victorious candidate for the SNP in the school election at Fraserburgh Academy.

Aberdeenshire Council held school elections in 6 secondary schools across the North-east. In the Broch, SNP candidate Scot West triumphed, while at Turriff Academy – the only other school in Banff & Buchan to take part in the election – the SNP also won with candidate Keenan Nicol triumphing. Overall, the SNP candidates won 4 of the 7 contests across Aberdeenshire.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"School elections are fantastic fun for those involved and they also get across the serious message that voting is very important.

"Scot fought an excellent election campaign by all accounts and I'm delighted with his success.

"I have been greatly encouraged by the numbers of young people I have met during this campaign who are taking an active interest in democracy and Scotland's future and are backing the SNP to win and make a difference for Scotland."

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WHITEFORD BACKS ‘GRAVE CONCERNS’ OVER INDEPENDENT LIVING FUND CHANGES

Monday, 19 April 2010

THOUSANDS OF DISABLED PEOPLE TO LOSE OUT UNDER LABOUR CUTS

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford, has echoed Scottish Government Public Health Minister Shona Robison’s "grave concern" about the future of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which assists people with severe disabilities to access essential support.

Changes to the ILF eligibility criteria proposed by Labour at Westminster will massively reduce the numbers of people able to apply for assistance from 1 May this year, with Scotland being disproportionately affected. The Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) has calculated that, under the new criteria, only four new applicants in Scotland will be eligible for ILF this year, compared to 3,645 who currently benefit.

Ms Robison has written to UK Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper to urgently raise her concerns.

Dr Whiteford strongly endorsed Ms Robison’s action, saying:

"It is outrageous that in the dying days of their discredited government, Labour are sneaking through changes that will cut off essential financial support for potentially thousands of vulnerable people.

"Over three and a half thousand disabled people in Scotland rely on ILF to help them live as independently as they can, with 118 of them living in Aberdeenshire. Labour are choking off a source of lifeline support that affords severely disabled people a measure of dignity and self-sufficiency.

"Throughout their time in office, Labour have financially discriminated against disabled people, hacking away at disability benefits time and again and even threatening to abolish them altogether. They have been shameless in their repeated attacks on the welfare of vulnerable people.

"With their talk of ‘savage’ cuts, going even ‘deeper and tougher’ than those implemented by Margaret Thatcher, not one of the London parties can be trusted to protect those in our society who need it most. Their cuts consensus would hit our most vulnerable citizens hardest.

"I am appalled that Labour has effectively abolished ILF without a single word of discussion or consultation with the Scottish Government. It is a sign of the contempt in which they hold Scotland and Scottish interests."


Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

“This is the sort of devastating decision that we can expect to see much more of in the future if the three London-based parties are allowed to pursue their cuts agenda.

“We need people in parliament who will say that this is not the way forward. Communities across Scotland desperately need strong local champions prepared to speak up for those in need. As part of an increased SNP and Plaid Cymru bloc of MPs in a balanced parliament, Eilidh will be able to do that. More Nats will mean less cuts.”

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WHITEFORD LODGES NOMINATION PAPERS

Friday, 16 April 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford lodged her nomination papers to become an official candidate for the UK General Election on 6 May.

Before lodging her papers with the Depute Returning Officer for the constituency on Friday, Dr Whiteford obtained the signature of Peterhead man Bob Ritchie.

Bob is the Honorary President of the Peterhead SNP Branch and was one of the founder members of the branch in the early 1960s.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

"It is thanks to the hard work and determination of people like Bob that this area first had an SNP MP in the shape of the late Douglas Henderson. Indeed, I have been struck as I have been out and about campaigning just how many people still have an affection for Douglas and the work he put in as MP for East Aberdeenshire.

"Bob has been a stalwart of the Peterhead Branch of the SNP for many years and, indeed, was instrumental in the founding of the Branch. I am delighted that Bob has agreed to be one of the signatories on my nomination papers."

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MSP & CANDIDATE WELCOME CONTINUATION OF BROCH JUNIOR WARDENS

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Commenting on the announcement that Grampian Police’s Junior Warden scheme had been boosted by a further intake of school pupils during the Easter holidays, local MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Giving pupils a first hand experience of the invaluable job that people in our emergency services do is a fantastic way of educating them and increasing their respect for members of those services.

“Encouraging that respect for the emergency services in the next generation is something that I’m sure everyone believes should be encouraged.”


SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

“I was delighted to meet the Junior Wardens out ‘on patrol’ in the Broadgate when I was campaigning on Saturday.

“They were certainly full of enthusiasm for their role and this is exactly the sort of initiative we should be encouraging. The scheme and its organisers are thoroughly deserving of the awards they have won.”

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BANFF & BUCHAN SNP CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

Thursday, 8 April 2010

WHITEFORD PLEDGES TO 'CHAMPION LOCAL ISSUES

Banff & Buchan Scottish National Party have this week launched their campaign elect their Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford.

Dr Whiteford accompanied First Minister Alex Salmond MP on a visit to Peterhead Harbour yesterday and was campaigning with local activists in Inverallochy this morning before visiting businesses in Banffshire in the afternoon.

The SNP are going into this campaign with a clear message for Scottish voters: more votes means more Nats, and more Nats means less cuts. The Westminster system is discredited, and only a strong SNP presence will protect Scottish jobs and services.

Labour has already said that they will make cuts in public spending ‘tougher and deeper’ than Thatcher, and the Tories are planning a £1 billion raid on Scottish budgets, despite revenues from Scottish resources propping up the UK's finances.

Launching her election campaign Eilidh Whiteford said:

"The SNP is working hard for Scotland and for the people and communities of Banff & Buchan. We are speaking up for local and national priorities, and will work to win the best deal for this area.

"The SNP will speak up for Scottish interests in London. Without the SNP, Scotland will be ignored.

“The SNP will stand shoulder to shoulder with the communities we represent. While the London parties are obsessed with who will form the next UK Government, the SNP is delivering on its commitments: freezing the Council Tax, putting more police on the street, giving patients new rights including a waiting time guarantee and freezing senior salaries, including ministerial pay.

"I have been campaigning against fuel tax rises which are hitting households and businesses in rural Scotland hardest, and fighting to defend local jobs. With an axe hanging over our public services, pensioners must not be made to bear the brunt of the recession. In tough financial times, the UK should prioritise frontline services like health, education and policing instead of spending £100 billion on a new Trident nuclear missile system.”

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson is encouraging voters to continue their strong support for Eilidh Whiteford saying:

"At this election, Banff & Buchan voters can elect a candidate who will champion local issues. An SNP MP who will make sure our communities can't be ignored.

“We can protect jobs, recovery and important local services and instead cut things like the 100 billion pound replacement for Trident, identity cards, the House of Lords and the Scotland Office.

"On polling day the people of Banff & Buchan can do more than just vote for a politician, with the SNP they can elect Eilidh Whiteford to champion local issues.”

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SALMOND RECEIVES THREE FOLD ASSURANCE FROM SCOTTISH AND SOUTHERN BOSS

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Banff & Buchan MP and First Minister Alex Salmond has received a three fold assurance on the future of Peterhead Power Station from Ian Marchant, the Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy.

The Perth based power giant has been forced to consider the closure of one of the smaller gas generators at the station due to penal connection charges levied on electricity generation in the North East of Scotland, with the possible loss of between 50 and 70 jobs.

Mr Salmond said after a meeting at the company HQ in Perth:

"This was a very positive meeting and I have received three key assurances.

"Firstly that there will be no compulsory redundancies this year at Peterhead and that every possible route will be taken to prevent them in the future. Mr Marchant has given be his personal commitment that it is his expectation that any compulsory redundancies can be avoided.

"Secondly Mr Marchant has said that if the campaign to secure fair connection charges for Scotland from the National Grid, which I support strongly, succeeds in reducing the higher charges for the whole station even by a quarter then the number two generator will be kept in production until 2015.

"Thirdly Mr Marchant has agreed that, in the event of the connection charges are reduced, the company will also investigate the feasibility of fitting a carbon capture demonstrator at the Peterhead plant, an investment which would place the power station back at the cutting edge of new technology.

"All three assurances are welcome. The commitment on avoiding compulsory redundancies stops short of a full guarantee but it is a strong indication from the Chief Executive of the company. The willingness to look again at the closure plan of the older generator if the anti-Scottish bias in the connection charge regime is modified is important and will provide impetus to the campaign to secure a fair deal on charges.

“Finally, although the proposal for a carbon capture demonstrator is just the suggestion of a feasibility study at present, and it would be small in comparison to previous plans, it could still represent an important technological breakthrough and a key investment signal on the long term future of the Peterhead plant."

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ROYAL BRITISH LEGION CAMPAIGN – EILIDH WHITEFORD PLEDGES TO 'DO HER BIT'

Sunday, 4 April 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has pledged her support to the Royal British Legion’s ‘Do Your Bit’ Campaign. The move follows her visit to the Longside Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland's highly successful coffee morning last weekend.
The local SNP candidate has signed up to the Legion’s manifesto, which calls upon the Westminster Government to:

  • Improve and keep the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme under continual review
  • Stop breaches of harmony guidelines (deployment rates) in order to reduce family separation and breakdown
  • Provide bereaved Armed Forces families with independent legal advice during inquests
  • Introduce an Independent Advisory Committee on Military Deaths
  • Make NHS priority treatment work for veterans with injuries caused by Service in the Armed Forces
Tackle poverty among older veterans and widows

Dr Whiteford made the pledge on the campaign's website at www.timetodoyourbit.org.uk

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Perhaps more than ever, our brave forces personnel need our support. However, it’s important that we don’t forget the need to be there to support ex-service personnel after they return home to civilian life as well.

“That’s why I’m pleased to be able to lend my support to such a worthwhile campaign and I would encourage everyone to visit the website to find out how they can get involved.

“We ask our forces to do extraordinary things on behalf of their country, so we owe it to them to provide the best possible support, whether they be in or out of uniform. I’m delighted to be able to endorse the aims of the ‘Do Your Bit’ campaign, and look forward to working closely with the Legion to help them wherever I can.”

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WHITEFORD WELCOMES FURTHER CUT IN PRESCRIPTION CHARGES

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the final cut in prescription charges, implemented last week, before they are abolished in April 2011.
Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“In these tough economic times, hundreds of thousands of people are already better off thanks to the SNP Government’s action and they will continue to be better off as we move to full abolition of all prescription charges next year.

“Healthcare should be free at the point of access for everyone - this is the founding principle of the NHS, so removing the prescription charge will ensure that cost is not a barrier to those needing to take the medication prescribed to them.

“A year-on-year increase in Prescription Pre-payment Certificate sales proves that this policy is helping even more patients, particularly those with long-term conditions and others who require the greatest number of prescription items.

“We have seen in previous years that the spend on prescription charges across Grampian NHS area before they were cut was around £5.5 million a year. That is significant sum of money to be putting back in people’s pockets, and can only benefit the regional economy too.”

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"APRIL FUEL TAX NO JOKE" SAYS WHITEFORD

As pump prices for petrol head for record levels, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has slammed the Tories for sitting on their hands as Labour's fuel tax comes into force.

With the AA warning that the price of petrol and diesel is edging closer to a record high at the pumps, following the rise in fuel duty which came into effect on 1 April, the SNP candidate says voters can make Labour pay at the polls for making them pay at the pumps.

Speaking today Eilidh Whiteford said:

“This increase came into effect on April Fool's day and Labour are taking the people of Scotland for fools as the first stage of the Chancellor's fuel tax increase pushes pump prices for petrol up to record levels. But the April Fuel Tax is sadly no joke.

"Increases in fuel duty are not a green tax, they are a Brown one, and people across Scotland have had their fill of Labour’s fuel duty increases. What Treasury Ministers in London forget is that for people in rural areas, a car is a necessity and not a luxury. While Labour brought in the tax, the Tories sat on their hands and did nothing to stop it.

"These latest warnings from the AA confirm that Labour and Gordon Brown have learnt nothing from their years in government. Sky-high fuel taxes imposed by Gordon Brown, and latterly Alistair Darling, are indiscriminate and effectively a poll tax on wheels.

“It’s not just hauliers who suffer but ordinary families struggling to run a car for normal use. The effects of rising fuel taxes also impact on prices in the stores with costs increasing to deliver food and other products to the shops."

Eilidh Whiteford has also given a commitment that the SNP will continue to oppose fuel tax hikes and seek the introduction of measures to reduce the pressure on driver, particularly those in rural areas.

Dr Whiteford continued:

“I can categorically say that the SNP MPs will oppose Labour's arbitrary fuel tax hikes and propose the introduction of a fuel duty regulator to ensure price stability as well as lower fuel taxes for remote areas."

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FRASERBURGH: SALMOND TO OFFICIALLY OPEN COMMUNITY WEB CAFÉ

Saturday, 3 April 2010

CUMINESTOWN: SALMOND TO PRESENT STRIPS TO YOUTH FOOTBALL TEAM

On Monday 5 April, First Minister and Banff & Buchan MP Alex Salmond will, at 12.30pm, officially open Fraserburgh Community Web Café, 24 Broad Street, Fraserburgh.

Later, at 4.30pm, Mr Salmond will present Cuminestown Youth Active Football Club with new strips at Cuminestown playing fields. The strips were bought with an award from the Mary Salmond Trust. Following his election as MSP in 2007 Mr Salmond has donated his Scottish Parliamentary salary to the trust which has so far benefited over seventy good causes across North-east Scotland.

Mr Salmond will be joined at both events by SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

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