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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Announces Details of Surgery Tour

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford will be embarking on her third surgery tour next week. The SNP MP is aiming to cover communities stretching from Rothienorman in the far south-west to Inverallochy in the north-east and almost 30 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.

"Many people choose to use e-mail or websites to contact me these days, but I’ve found during the last two years that it is important for people to be able to have access to their local MP in their own community.

"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:

Tuesday 28 August
New Deer 10.00am – 10.20am Hall car park
Maud 10.30am – 10.50am Station car park
Stuartfield 11.05am – 11.20am The Square
Auchnagatt 11.30am – 11.40am Hall car park
Methlick 12.10pm – 12.30pm Main Road car park
Fyvie 1.50pm – 2.10pm Car park opp. Co-op
Rothienorman 2.25pm – 2.40pm Hall car park
Cuminestown 3.05pm – 3.25pm The Square, opp. Shop



Thursday 30 August
Inverallochy 10.00am – 10.20am adj. Post Office
St Combs 10.30am – 10.50am Hall car park
Crimond 11.00am – 11.20am Kirk car Park
St Fergus 11.30am – 11 45am Kirktown
Boddam 12.00pm – 12.15pm Russell Street
Cruden Bay 12.30pm – 12.50pm Main Street
Longside 2.00pm – 2.15pm Main Street car park
Mintlaw 2.25pm – 2.45pm Newlands Road
Fetterangus 2.55pm – 3.10pm Hall car park
Strichen 3.25pm – 3.45pm North Street
New Pitsligo 3.55pm – 4.15pm The Square



Friday 31 August
Sandhaven 10.15am – 10.35am St Magnus Road opp. park
Rosehearty 10.45am – 11.00am The Square
Gardenstown 11.30am – 11.45am adj. Petrol Station
Macduff 12.00pm– 12.30pm Knowes Hotel car park
Whitehills 1.40 pm – 1.55pm Seafield Street
Portsoy 2.10pm – 2.30pm Church Street
Fordyce 2.45pm – 3.00pm adj. Castle
Aberchirder 3.20pm – 3.40pm The Square
Forglen 3.05pm – 4.05pm Bogton Row

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Consultation Questions as Farmers Hit by Pipeline Closure

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

SNP Westminster Agriculture spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP has demanded greater consultation by the UK Government with the agricultural industry over a decision to close a pipeline connecting one of the country’s major gas terminals for three weeks which leaves Scottish farmers out of pocket.

Dr Whiteford has written to the UK Energy & Climate Change Secretary asking whether input was sought from the farming industry in the decision to shut down the pipeline between St Fergus Gas Terminal and Fife for three weeks from 25 August. Alternative supplies during this period only available from refineries in England at an extra cost of between 2.5 and 5 pence per litre.

The Banff and Buchan MP met with farmers at Turriff Show in her constituency this week where concern was voiced that the closure will coincide with grain-drying operations when peak-demand from farmers will be reached, adding extra costs to what is already likely to be a more expensive process due to the wet summer.

Dr Whiteford said:

“I’ve been in communication with senior management at St Fergus and the distributors, Avanti Gas. It seems that the date for this shutdown, which is for essential work to be carried out and only the third total shutdown in the plant’s history, was agreed with DECC in January 2011.

“The question which must be asked now is, did DECC seek the views of the Scottish farming industry in reaching a decision on this date?

“While summer may be an obvious time to shutdown as it means a low demand from domestic gas users, shifting the closed period by only a few weeks would have made a big difference to Scottish farmers, who are now facing increased costs as a result.

“I’ll be raising the issue with the UK Energy Secretary to ensure that the agriculture industry is consulted on any such future plans.”

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Famers Raise LPG Concerns with Whiteford

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

MP TO SEEK CLARIFICATION ON WHETHER INDUSTRY WAS CONSULTED ON TIMING OF PLANT SHUTDOWN

SNP Westminster Agriculture spokesperson and Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford is seeking clarification from the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) whether input was sought from the Scottish farming industry in the decision to shut down one of the country’s major gas terminals for 3 weeks during the summer.

St Fergus Gas Terminal will shut the pipeline to Fife for three weeks from 25 August 2012 with alternative supplies during this period only available from refineries in England at an extra cost of between 2.5 and 5ppl. 

The MP met with farmers at Turriff Show in her constituency this week where concern was voiced that this will coincide with grain-drying operations when peak-demand from farmers will be reached, adding extra costs to what is already likely to be a more expensive process due to the wet summer.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

I’ve been in communication with senior management at St Fergus and the distributors, Avanti Gas.  It seems that the date for this shutdown, which is for essential work to be carried out and only the third total shutdown in the plant’s history, was agreed with DECC in January 2011.

“The question which must be asked now is, did DECC seek the views of the Scottish farming industry in reaching a decision on this date?

“While summer may be an obvious time to shutdown as it means a low demand from domestic gas users, shifting the closed period by only a few weeks would have made a big difference to Scottish farmers, who are now facing increased costs as a result.

“I’ll be raising the issue with the UK Energy Minister to ensure that the agriculture industry is consulted on any such future plans.”

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Whiteford Raises ATOS Contract Concerns with Duncan-Smith

Sunday, 5 August 2012

An SNP MP has written to the UK Work and Pensions Secretary expressing concern at the decision to award ATOS Healthcare a new five year contract to run assessments for ‘personal independence payments’, the replacement for disability living allowance (DLA).

ATOS already have a £100 million a year contract to run the widely-criticised computer-based work capability assessments (WCAs) for Employment Support Allowance claims, which removed lifeline benefits from thousands of sick and disabled people deemed ‘fit to work’. Problems with WCAs were widely acknowledged and highlighted both by disability organisations and by medical professionals including the BMA. Forty per cent of appeals of decisions are successful, rising significantly when legal representation is sought.

A third independent review of the Work Capability Assessments is still underway, led by Professor Malcolm Harrington.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“It is astonishing that the UK Government have awarded ATOS Healthcare these contracts given the widespread concerns around the operation of the work capability assessments and before the independent review has even been completed.

“While the UK Government have properly promised a moratorium over future G4S contracts after the Olympic security shambles, a similar robust approach should be taken with other private partners who have failed to deliver on multi-million pound public contracts.

“These inadequate tick-box tests removed lifeline support from thousands of sick and disabled people. The UK Government have questions to answer over this decision – which has been taken before the review looking at the problems with the WCA has even been completed. By awarding ATOS with this new contract, it suggests the Tories are either not listening to the harrowing experiences people have faced, or they simply don’t care.

“Other organisations have had to deal with the impact of this failure. Citizens Advice Bureaux have seen a huge increase in numbers of people turning to them for help with Employment Support Allowance. So much so they are now dealing with an average 100 new ESA cases every working day. CAB also help with WCA appeals and win nearly 70% of them, showing the inherent flaws in the original system. We do not want to see this replicated for thousands of disabled people who currently rely on DLA to help them with increased costs of being disabled.

“It is deeply concerning that the same company have been awarded the new contract – and does not bode well for the welfare reforms the UK Government are putting in place.

“The UK Government must give clarity over what measures are being put in place to ensure the new assessments are safe and rigorous, protecting sick and disabled people instead of putting them at risk of harm.

“With decisions like these, it’s no wonder the Tories are known as the nasty party of UK politics.”

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