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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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IFS ANALYSIS CONFIRMS COALITION ATTACK ON POOREST HOUSEHOLDS

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The SNP have hit out at the Coalition Government’s regressive agenda after research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) confirmed that George Osborne’s emergency Budget would hit the poorest hardest.

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

“This analysis removes any doubt that the Tory/Liberal coalition is pursuing a regressive, not progressive, agenda which will widen the gap between rich and poor.

“We have the same old Tories, now helped by the Liberal Democrats, cutting too far and too fast and leaving the poorest households to bear the brunt of tax rises, benefit cuts and the loss of public services and jobs.

“The IFS research totally contradicts claims by the Chancellor that the emergency Budget was progressive, and exposes the measures being taken as an unfair attack on the most vulnerable households.”

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WHITEFORD VISITS BANFFSHIRE DISTILLERY

Monday, 23 August 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford visited Glen Deveron Distillery, Macduff today.

Dr Whiteford was invited to visit a local distillery by the Scotch Whisky Association as part of their briefing on the importance of the whisky industry to the Scottish economy.

The MP met with Campbell Evans, Director of Government & Consumer Affairs for the SWA and Ian Lochhead, Operations Director of John Dewar & Sons, who hosted the visit and gave a tour of the distillery.

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LOCAL MP UNVEILS PLAQUE TO FORGLEN HERO

Friday, 20 August 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford unveiled a plaque commemorating Victoria Cross winner Piper George Findlater at a ceremony in the Public Hall, Forglen last Friday. The event was attended by members of the Friends of Forglen Hall, Turriff Royal British Legion as well as descendents of Piper Findlater.

Dr Whiteford was also able to present Piper Findlater's descendents with a copy of the announcement of the awarding of his VC which appeared in the London Gazette in May 1898 which she had asked the House of Commons Library to see if they could obtain from their archives.

Piper Findlater was a local Forglen man who enlisted in Gordon Highlanders in April 1888 and being interested in music started the study of the bagpipes after he joined the army.

For bravery under battle in 1897 in the NW Frontier in British India (now Pakistan) he was awarded the VC. He was wounded in both ankles but continued to play the pipes. In 1898 Queen Victoria travelled from Windsor to Netley Hospital, Southampton to award him the VC.

Piper Findlater served in WW1 and was wounded again. After the war, he was active in Turriff Pipe Band as Pipe Major.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

"It is a huge honour to be asked to unveil the new plaque and great that Forglen is remembering its most famous son.

"Many VCs were awarded posthumously but he survived his injuries and settled back in the North-east, contributing to the civic life of his local community."

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EILIDH WHITEFORD MP OFFICIALLY OPENS NEW ST COMBS POST OFFICE THAT HAS SERVICE LICKED

Customers in St Combs can now lick their ice-creams and postage stamps at the same time thanks to the opening of the new post office service.

The new service in Buchans Ices, Mid Street, St Combs, will be officially opened today (August 20 2010) by Banff and Buchan MP, Eilidh Whiteford. The MP will be able to watch as customers post parcels while ordering their ice cream cones in the new venture.

Dr Whiteford said:

“Post Offices are at the heart of rural communities across Banff & Buchan offering local people access to vital services. This is also a fantastic example of where different services can be combined to help small communities.

“I know that there were some concerns when the previous branch closed, and this new service will be a real boost for residents of St Combs, safeguarding services in the area.

“I am delighted that Buchan Ices has been appointed and I would like to wish them and Fiona every success in their new venture.”


Local woman, Fiona Thomson, who will run the service, said:

“We offer a wide range of post office services and our customers are enjoying a first class service and we would like to thank them for all the support they have shown us so far.”

Kenny Lamont, Field Change Advisor for Post Office Limited, said:

"I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to re-open a Post Office service in St Combs. Post Office services are extremely important for the community and this service is a vital asset to the local area.”

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MP TO EMBARK ON FIRST SURGERY TOUR

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford will be embarking on her first surgery tour this coming week. The SNP MP, who was elected in May, has already held 10 surgeries in the constituency's larger towns but is now aiming to cover communities stretching from Fisherford in the far south-west to Inverallochy in the north-east and 50 other communities in between.

The local MP has been busy preparing for the tour and is looking forward to getting out and about into some of the smaller communities which she represents.

Looking ahead to the marathon tour, Eilidh commented:

"I'm keen to get around as many communities in Banff & Buchan as possible during the Parliamentary recess and this is an excellent way to do it.

"My MSP colleague Stewart Stevenson has been doing this for 10 years and I aim to use his example to ensure that as many communities as possible have a visit from their Member of Parliament during the five days which it will take to cover the constituency from end to end.

"There's no appointment necessary unlike the 'static' surgeries which I hold and constituents are welcome to raise issues with me, discuss aspects of policy, or just simply drop by for a chat. I'm looking forward to meeting as many people as possible during the tour."



Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford will be available for consultation in her Mobile Office at the following locations:



Thursday 26 August

New Pitsligo 10.00am – 10.25am The Square
Strichen 10.40am – 11.05am North Street
Memsie 11.20am – 11.35am by BT exchange
Rathen 11.45am – 12.00pm by Public Hall
Lonmay 12.10pm – 12.25pm adj. Ban Car Hotel
New Leeds 1.45pm – 1.55pm Manse Street
Fetterangus 2.10pm – 2.25pm Hall car park
Old Deer 2.40pm – 2.55pm opp. old Post Office
Stuartfield 3.05pm – 3.20pm The Square
Auchnagatt 3.30pm – 3.45pm Hall car park
New Deer 4.00pm – 4.20pm Hall car park
Maud 4.30pm - 4.45pm Station car park

Friday 27 August

Longside 10.15am – 10.30am Main St. car park
Mintlaw 10.40am – 11.05am Newlands Road
Hatton 11.30am – 11.45am Hall car park
Cruden Bay 12.00pm – 12.20pm Main Street
Longhaven 12.30pm – 12.45pm Hall car park
Boddam 12.50pm – 1.05pm Russell Street
Rora 2.35pm – 2.45pm Hall car park
St Fergus 2.55pm – 3.10pm opp. Shop
Crimond 3.25pm – 3.45pm Kirk car Park
St Combs 3.55pm – 4.15pm Hall car park
Inverallochy 4.25pm – 4.45pm adj. Post Office

Monday 30 August

New Byth 10.25am – 10.40am The Square
Gardenstown 11.00am – 11.15am adj. Petrol Station
Macduff 11.30am – 12.00pm Knowes Hotel car park
King Edward 1.20pm – 1.30pm lay-by at Kirk
Fisherie 1.40pm – 1.50pm Craigwall Cottages
Crudie 2.00pm – 2.10pm lay-by
New Aberdour 2.30pm – 2.45pm car park
Rosehearty 3.00pm – 3.20pm The Square
Sandhaven 3.30pm – 3.45pm St Magnus Road opp. park
Tyrie 4.00pm – 4.10pm adj. old Post Office

Thursday 2 September

Easterfield 10.15am – 10.25am adj. School
Aberchirder 10.45am – 11.10am The Square
Cornhill 11.25am – 11.45am Car park
Fordyce 12.00pm – 12.15pm adj. Castle
Sandend 12.30pm – 12.45pm adj. Phone Box
Portsoy 2.00pm – 2.25pm Church Street
Boyndie 2.40pm – 2.50pm opp. Boyndie Centre
Whitehills 3.00pm – 3.20pm Seafield Street
Inverboyndie 3.30pm – 3.40pm adj. Bridge
Alvah 3.55pm – 4.05pm adj. Linhead Hall
Forglen 4.25pm – 4.35pm Bogton Row

Friday 3 September

Methlick 10.30am – 10.50am Main Road car park
Woodhead 11.10am – 11.25am adj. Notice Board
Fyvie 11.35am – 11.55am car park opp. Co-op
Rothienorman 12.20pm – 12.45pm Hall car park
Fisherford 2.00pm – 2.15pm Fjord Inn car park
Auchterless 2.35pm – 2.50pm adj. Hall
Cuminestown 3.15pm – 3.35pm opp. Shop
Garmond 3.45pm – 4.00pm Main Street

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CON DEM BENEFIT SQUEEZE ‘THE WRONG CHOICE’

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

CUTS WILL HIT SCOTTISH HOUSEHOLDS HARD

Commenting on the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, that the Con Dem coalition are making plans to scale back some universal benefits including child benefit and winter fuel allowance, SNP Work and Pensions Spokeswoman, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, said the UK Government kept making the wrong choices.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“The Con Dem coalition is piling the pain on Scottish households – hiking prices and squeezing incomes.

“Taking the axe to child benefit and winter fuel allowances at the same time as increasing VAT will hit families and old folk hard. While the frontbench of Tory millionaires might not miss these small but essential allowances, people across Scotland will.

“Choices must be made by the coalition government but they keep making the wrong ones. Instead of squeezing incomes for vulnerable households and trying to take milk away from young children, the coalition should scrap what we don’t need – starting with Trident.

“The SNP believe in the principle of universal benefits. That’s why we’re committed to ending prescription charges by April next year and guaranteeing free personal care for the elderly and concessionary travel for old folk.”

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LOCAL MP HAILS BANFF BAY SWIM A SUCCESS

Monday, 16 August 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has hailed this year's Banff Bay Swim a great success after the event saw the largest number of entrants for many years. 

The MP was speaking at the presentation of the prizes by former Banffshire Lord Lieutenant – and former Banff Bay Swim winner – James McPherson after the event on Saturday afternoon. 

Speaking at Macduff Harbour, Dr Whiteford said: 

"This year's event has seen the largest number of entrants in recent years and each and every one of them, whether they were one of the winners in the various categories or whether they completed the distance from Banff to Macduff or not deserve our admiration and congratulations for being brave enough to try. 

"Our thanks go to the Coastguard, the Lifeboat crew and the Rib Rescue team for making the event safe for all those taking part, and also to the crowds who lined the harbour to cheer home the swimmers. 

"Finally, Rhoda and Phil Mitchell who took on the organising of the event this year deserve our thanks and congratulations on organising a safe and successful event."

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WHITEFORD & STEVENSON CONGRATULATE PETERHEAD FISHERMEN'S MISSION ON HARBOUR OPEN DAY SUCCESS

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford and local MSP Stewart Stevenson have congratulated Peterhead Fishermen's Mission on the success of the annual Harbour Open Day which was held this weekend.

Dr Whiteford, who was part of the platform party for the opening ceremony performed this year by actress Hannah Gordon, spent the morning chatting with visitors and touring the various stalls and exhibitions. On Sunday, Dr Whiteford also took part in the Mission's memorial service for fishermen lost at sea which was held at the Lido and laid a wreath at the fishermen's memorial in her capacity as Member of Parliament.

Commenting on the success of Saturday's Open Day she said:

"This was a fantastic event for young and old alike and praise must go to George Power, Paul Govier and the rest of the team supporting the Mission for the huge amount of work which went into making this year's event such a terrific success.

"I think it is a testament to the affection and the high esteem in which the Fishermen's Mission is held that so many people turned out on Saturday to support the Open Day."


Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson also took time out to support the Mission by attending the Harbour Open Day. He said:

"I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at the Harbours Open Day which attracted a huge number of people. My congratulations go to the Peterhead Fishermen's Mission on another highly successful and enjoyable event which I know from talking to some of those present attracted a fair number of visitors to the town, which can only be a good thing."

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NEW LABOUR’S MILBURN TO WORK FOR THE OLD TORIES

Commenting on reports that leading architect of New Labour, Alan Milburn, is poised to join David Cameron’s government as "social mobility" czar, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP said the move showed that New Labour were now doing the bidding of the old Tories.

Dr Whiteford said:

“After Lord Mandelson’s admission that he would work for the Tories and Ed Miliband’s claim that there were no big differences between Labour and the Tories, news that Alan Milburn is set to become an adviser to David Cameron should be no surprise.

“New Labour and the old Tories are peas in a pod and Alan Milburn’s return proves that the parties are indistinguishable on crucial social mobility issues like poverty, benefits reform and the pensions crisis.

“Alan Milburn’s coalition job is deeply embarrassing for Labour, and will haunt them every time the Tories make an announcement on social mobility issues.”

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WHITEFORD & LOCHHEAD URGE COMMUNITIES TO SPEAK UP FOR RURAL SCOTLAND

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Communities are being urged to speak up for rural Scotland and join the debate into its future.  A three month consultation has been launched on plans devised by the Rural Development Council to help economic recovery.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead launched the consultation at Turriff Show this week.  Mr Lochhead then toured the show with Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford.

Commenting on the show, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"While the weather may have done its best on the first day of the show to dampen people's spirits, it's clear that the Turriff Show continues to go from strength to strength with more stands, more exhibits and more exhibition space being added this year. 

"I know also from speaking to local traders in the town that they have enjoyed a boost in takings from visitors to the show taking the opportunity to shop in the town centre. 

"It's an immense task organising the country's biggest two-day agricultural show and the office-bearers and show committee can be justly proud of their efforts again this year.  I wish them every success for next year."

Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"Rural Scotland and its people have a central role to play in strengthening Scotland's economy. It has an important role in meeting the nation's challenges in relation to food, water and energy security and is critical to our efforts to tackle climate change. 

"Rural Scotland represents 94 per cent of our land mass, is home to almost one million people and sustains one of the most diverse environments in Europe. It has a lot to offer, not least the energy and dynamism of its people and communities. All this makes it a great place for people to live work and bring up their families - we need to keep it that way. 

"The Scottish Government has been working with rural communities and businesses to ensure they are in the strongest position possible to make best use of resources and emerge from the recession in as strong a position as possible. 

"That is why, last year, I asked the Rural Development Council to advise me on how best rural Scotland could contribute to this country's overall prosperity. 

"Their advice is contained in the document 'Speak Up for Rural Scotland'. This covers the great majority of issues affecting people today - the economy, land use, renewable energy, community empowerment and activity. 

"But, this is not the end of the story. I want to know what rural Scotland thinks of the suggestions the Rural Development Council are making. 

"I urge anyone with an interest in rural Scotland to read this document and let me know what these proposals will mean for individuals, communities and organisations. 

"Whatever direction we take we must ensure that the energy and enterprising spirit of rural communities can continue to punch above their weight." 

The Rural Development Council is an informal group set up in 2008 to provide independent and impartial advice on all rural issues. All members of the Council have particular expertise and interests in rural issues. Brief details of each of the Council members are contained within the Speak Up for Rural Scotland consultation document.

Members include Kate Braithwaite, Director of Carnegie UK Trust Rural Programme, Stuart Housden, Director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland, and Neil MacLeod, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Foundation.

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LOCAL MP JUDGES CRUDEN BAY GARDEN COMPETITION

Friday, 6 August 2010

Newly-elected Member of Parliament for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford was the judge of Cruden Bay Horticultural Society's annual best kept garden contest.

The MP visited the gardens with local councillor Stephen Smith and Cruden Bay Horticultural Society members Kathleen Morrison and Betty Forrester and the winners will be announced at the society's annual flower show, being held tomorrow (Saturday) in St James's Church, Cruden.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

"The gardens we visited were absolutely lovely and clearly a lot of hard work had gone into them. What was particularly pleasing was that some of those we visited weren't even aware that they had been nominated for the competition, which means their gardens are obviously appreciated by local people who've taken the trouble to nominate them.

"Many of those we visited also lend a hand in maintaining some of the floral tubs and displays around the village so Cruden Bay is clearly home to some very green-fingered individuals.

"The Horticultural Society is to be congratulated for the work it does not only in organising the flower show and the competition but also for their work on the floral displays around the village which help to brighten it up."

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WHITEFORD MEETS WITH 'POST BANK COALITION'

SNP DEMAND ANSWERS ON ROYAL MAIL PRIVATISATION PLANS

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has met with the 'Post Bank Coalition' for talks in Westminster. The Post Bank Coalition is calling for a publicly-owned bank to be set up, based on the Post Office network to provide socially useful local banking to communities and small businesses across the country and secure a sustainable future for the Post Office.

The Post Bank Coalition is formed from a broad range of organisations including the Communication Workers Union, the Countryside Alliance, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the National Pensioners Convention.

Commenting after the meeting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"This was a very useful discussion with the Post Bank Coalition. It is clear following the decade of decline in the number of Post Offices and the number of services which can be accessed at Post Offices that the status quo is not an option.

"Individual sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses should be given the freedom to run an innovative service that is tailored to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

"The Post Bank is an exciting initiative as it offers to replace the services which have been lost over the past 10 to 20 years from our rural communities by the withdrawal of the high street banks. I hope that Ministers in the UK Government will show the same level of support for the Post Office that the Scottish Government has shown."


Meanwhile, Dr Whiteford, along with SNP colleagues, is calling on the UK Government to “come clean” over plans for privatisation of Royal Mail after a parliamentary answer received by the SNP raised further questions about the government’s plan.

The MP, who has long campaigned on Royal Mail and Post Office issues, is extremely concerned that privatisation would mean profit at the expense of service in rural areas like Buchan and Banffshire, where the Universal Service model currently operated by Royal Mail gives a consistency of price and service that is vital in sustaining rural business and jobs.

Residents across Banff & Buchan have also regularly backed campaigns on postal service issues, whether that has been against Post Office closures or to protect Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation.

The Government has previously commented that they were looking at a “John Lewis” solution, which would be a partnership sharing profits, however in a response to the SNP the Postal Affairs Minister, Ed Davey, confirmed that the UK Government were looking at “an injection of private capital into Royal Mail, including opportunities for employee ownership.”

However, Eilidh Whiteford says that this is nothing like the John Lewis partnership model which shares profits amongst the partners.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“Talk about the John Lewis model is simply as a smokescreen for privatisation of Royal Mail. It is clear that the Tories and Liberals are seeking to privatise the business and offer workers a small amount of shares to give the impression of employee participation rather than complete employee or continued public ownership.

“This is a slippery slope that will damage Royal Mail and the important services it provides to areas like rural Banff & Buchan.

“Constituents regularly tell me of the importance of the postal services they receive and any reduction in service would make doing business in the countryside much more difficult.

“In the modern era rural areas are benefiting from Internet connections and communications technology that let them operate effectively in areas like Buchan and rural Banffshire but that could all be undone if businesses can’t easily supply their customers through Royal Mail.

“The UK government need to come clean – this is nothing more than the same old privatisations operated by the Thatcher administrations. When the utility companies were privatised customers were offered shares, but the reality now is that all but two of the companies have been taken over by major foreign energy giants.

“If the UK government are allowed to go down this route it is only a matter of time before the company comes wholly under private control. Such an outcome would be a disaster and inevitably lead to strong pressure for relaxation or abolition of the universal service obligation.

“Royal Mail cannot be regarded as simply another company. It contains a vital social element that must be protected.”

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MP VISITS ST FERGUS GAS TERMINAL

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford visited the TOTAL E&P UK site at St Fergus Gas Terminal today. The MP was accompanied by Peterhead North & Rattray councillor Anne Allan.

Dr Whiteford's visit was at the invitation of TOTAL who briefed the MP on TOTAL's long term investment plans, their facility at St Fergus and some of the local activities the company is involved with.

Commenting after the visit, Dr Whiteford said:

"St Fergus is a key part of the UK's energy infrastructure and is supporting dozens of local jobs.

"Today's visit was a great opportunity to meet with some of the staff and management and find out about the processes that take place on site.

"I was also very impressed by what TOTAL are doing to support the local community and maintain the local environment."

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STRICHEN NOVELIST RECOGNISED BY COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford helped commemorate Strichen novelist Nora Low, better known as Lorna Moon.

The local community council has erected two plaques in the village – one in North Street and the other at the former Temperance Hotel on High Street, to highlight the controversial author's links with the village. Dr Whiteford was accompanied by local councillor and Doric Festival organiser Sandy Stronach. 

Speaking in Strichen, Dr Whiteford said: 

"As Lorna Moon, Nora Low found fame and success as a Hollywood Screenwriter, but she remained a controversial figure in her home town of Strichen. Her novel 'Dark Star' scandalised the local community because her portraits of the people and places she knew were too thinly veiled, and not always entirely flattering. 

"Eighty years after her death, I'm glad she's been forgiven, and her talents have been recognised. These plaques are a worthy tribute to one of the most successful writers ever to come out of North-east Scotland."

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