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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SNP Comment on Latest FSA Report

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

"PLACES QUESTION MARK OVER DARLING'S CREDIBILITY AS LEADER OF 'NO'"

Commenting on the news that the Swiss Bank UBS have been fined £940 million for attempting to manipulate the Libor inter-bank lending rate, from their City of London office SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said :

"The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has described this report as 'not pretty reading' for the City of London. That this breathtaking misconduct was happening in the UK and during the period of the last Labour government is indeed shocking. It follows the recent fines and resignations at Barclays Bank and could be a prelude to future action against other banks here.

"It raises the issue of what were the Chancellors of the Exchequer at the time, including Alistair Darling, doing to ensure that the good order of the financial sector was maintained.

"And it certainly places a big question mark over Mr Darling's credibility as head of the No campaign that this happened under the Westminster system of government, and it happened under his watch.

"The FSA has said today that the misconduct was extensive and widespread and involved dozens of individuals. It is extraordinary to read that it may have been so common that every single Libor submission during the period examined between 2005 and 2010 may have been tainted. It is a terrible legacy of the Labour years, and underlines the failures of Westminster government."

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"Scrooge" Swinson Cuts Redundancy Notice Period in Half

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Commenting on the announcement from the UK government that it will cut the consultation period for large scale redundancies by half from 90 days to 45 from April, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“At a time when families across Scotland will be looking anxiously to next year for greater economic certainty and growth, the idea that it will become easier to make people redundant will shock many.

“The 90 day period is designed to ensure that all possible alternatives to redundancy can be properly explored - reducing that period by half will restrict abilities to redeploy people or look at other employment opportunities.

“This is a strong illustration of how the UK government is imposing bad policies that the people of Scotland do not want, and that we can do things differently, fairer and better with the powers of independence.

“In Scotland, the SNP Government offers a number of programmes designed to help employees caught up in large-scale redundancies, such as the Partnership for Continuing Employment. These need time to work, and by slashing the time in half in this way, people in Scotland could be losing out on vital support.

“The bizarre claim from Jo Swinson that this measure is aimed at helping workers epitomises the ‘scrooge’ attitude at the heart of the Westminster Government."

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MP Officially Opens New Peterhead Business

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford officially opened Peterhead’s newest business at the weekend when she cut the ribbon on the Mace Convenience Store at Berryden Road Shopping Centre along with Peterhead FC Manager Jim McInally.

Shop owner Ahsan Mustafa invited the duo to perform the opening ceremony to mark the investment in the new store and to highlight the day’s events which included a visit from Santa in his Grotto, a buffet for customers, a celebration cake cut by Jim McInally, and numerous special offers.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“I’m honoured to be asked by Ahsan to assist at the opening ceremony and delighted that the Dales Park area has a convenience store serving the neighbourhood once again.

“Ahsan has ensured that his new store has a very wide range of products which I’m sure will prove a hit with local people.

“The last shop in Peterhead I opened has already expanded due to its popularity and I’m sure that Ahsan and his team at Berryden Road will be equally successful and I wish them every success in their new venture.”

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Local MP & Cabinet Secretary to Visit Storm-Damaged Buchan Ports

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead will tomorrow (Monday) visit Buchan ports affected by the extreme weather in the past few days.  Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford will accompany Mr Lochhead.  At Fraserburgh, local councillors Brian Topping and Charles Buchan will attend, while Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith will attend at Peterhead.


A highly unusual combination of south easterly gales, low pressure and high tides impacted on the north and east coasts over the weekend. Some harbour damage has resulted and Mr Lochhead will visit Fraserburgh and Peterhead harbours on Monday.

As a result of the storms the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) has been activated and met on both Saturday and Sunday so that Ministers could be fully appraised of the developing situation.

Mr Lochhead will be available for photos and interview as he meets with the harbour authorities and local council representatives at each of the three ports, to be shown the damage and discuss measures being taken as a result.

Details:

Date: Monday, December 17, 2012
11.30: Fraserburgh Harbour
13.15: Peterhead Harbour

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Whiteford Urges Minister to Ensure Future for Pig Industry

Monday, 10 December 2012

Banff & Buchan MP and SNP Westminster spokesperson on Agriculture Dr Eilidh Whiteford has urged DEFRA to ensure a future for the pig industry.


The MP raised the matter of the supply chain, and recent announcements by Vion, during DEFRA Question Time in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The pressures facing our farmers and producers are a concern, particularly in the pig sector.  With the recent announcement by Vion that they are putting their Scottish and UK operations up for sale, this has added to the uncertainty.

“However, I do believe that the pig sector can have a bright future.  It produces a quality product using the highest animal welfare standards which are well above most of our European competitors and this is increasingly being recognised by the consumer.”

Transcript of the exchange between Eilidh Whiteford MP and the Minister of State at DEFRA last Thursday:

Dr Eilidh Whiteford (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): The supply chain practices affecting our dairy industry affect other livestock producers, perhaps none more so than our pig producers, which are close to the Minister’s heart. Pigs are being sold well below the cost of production. Given VION’s announcements last week, what will the Minister do to ensure a future for the pig industry?

David Heath (Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): The hon. Lady is absolutely right to say that I am interested in the pig sector, having bred pigs myself. She will know that we cannot disguise the cyclical nature of the pig industry. Having said that, I am concerned about the current position, but there are signs of progress. Some supermarkets are now prepared to share risk in the pigmeat sector, which I want to encourage.

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Whiteford Delivers Christmas Encouragement to Royal Mail Posties at Banff Delivery Office

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has visited Royal Mail’s Banff delivery office to pass on Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

Dr Whiteford was shown round the office by local Delivery Office Manager Ian Jackson and was introduced to all the postmen and women who are working hard doing their bit to sort and deliver all the cards and parcels in the Banff area in the run-up to Christmas.

Dr Whiteford said:

“It was great to meet the hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at Banff delivery office and to see at first hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year. 

“Postmen and women do such an important job at this time of year. I’d like to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”

Ian Jackson, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager at Banff said:

“Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people really do pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period. We are grateful that Dr Whiteford MP came along to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

“Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts.  And as usual, we’d like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings!”

The recommended last posting dates for mail are:
  • Thursday 20 December for 1st Class items
  • Tuesday 18 December for 2nd Class items
  • Saturday 22 December for Special Delivery items
The last recommended posting dates for international mail are:
  • Wednesday 5 December for airmail to Asia, Far East, Australia and New Zealand
  • Friday 7 December for airmail to South & Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East
  • Monday 10 December for airmail to Eastern Europe, the USA, Canada and Japan
  • Wednesday 12 December for airmail items to Western Europe
Customers can help Royal Mail ensure that all their letters, cards and parcels are delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible by taking a few easy steps:
  • Use a 1st Class stamp! – Post 1st Class for just 60p and have your Christmas card delivered the next day – anywhere in the UK.
  • Post early! – Avoid disappointment by posting your cards and parcels early. The last posting dates this Christmas are: December 18 for 2nd Class mail; December 20 for 1st Class mail; December 22 for Special Delivery.
  • Use a postcode! – A clearly addressed card or parcel, with a postcode, and return address on the back of the envelope, will ensure quick and efficient delivery.
  • Use Special Delivery!– For valuable packages and parcels guarantee delivery with Royal Mail’s Special Delivery, which means your gift is tracked, traced and insured against loss.
  • For more information about Christmas with Royal Mail visit: www.royalmail.com or call 08457 740740.

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UK Government Bows to Pressure on Groceries Code Adjudicator

Thursday, 6 December 2012

SNP Westminster Agriculture spokesperson and MP for Banff & Buchan Dr Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the concession from the UK Government that it has bowed to pressure and granted the Groceries Code Adjudicator the power to impose fines from day one.


Speaking from Westminster, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“I’m really glad common sense has prevailed and the UK Government has given in to pressure from MPs across the party spectrum to give real teeth to the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

“During the summer we saw dairy farmers flex their muscles over the supply chain practices of the major retailers, and win some important concessions on price, but it’s important that we build on that momentum to secure a fairer deal for all farmers.

“Agricultural producers need to receive a fair price for the food they supply that reflects the cost of production.  That issue will only become more acute this year because of the soaring price of animal feed and a difficult harvest.  The Groceries Code Adjudicator is an important step in the right direction, but large retailers also need to reform their supply chain models so that the costs and risks of production are shared more equitably.”

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MP Plants Boddam's Royal Oak to Mark Jubilee

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford officiated at Boddam Community Council’s tree planting day held recently by planning a Royal Oak to commemorate the Queen’s jubilee year.

The SNP MP was invited to plant the sapling, which was grown on the Royal Estate at Balmoral, by the Community Council as part of their efforts to plant several hundred trees around the local recreation park.

Local councillors Stuart Pratt, Stephen Smith and Tom Malone also attended to show support for the event, which saw a large number of volunteers turn out to help.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“It was a great honour to be asked by the Community Council to plant their Royal Oak and I hope the sapling survives the onset of the Buchan winter.

“I’m sure the organisers must have been gratified by the number of people who turned out on the day to lend a hand with the planting of various kinds of tree around the recreation park.  Councillor Stuart Pratt was a particularly enthusiastic helper who had planted a dozen trees before I arrived.

“It’s good that Boddam has a go-ahead Community Council and I commend it and the volunteers who turned out for their community spirit and putting something back into the community.”

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Whiteford Speaks Up for Workers' Pension Rights in Commons

LABOUR BETRAY PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS WHILE TORY PENSIONS BILL SAILS THROUGH PARLIAMENT

SNP Work & Pensions spokesperson and local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has slammed the Labour Party for allowing the Tory led government’s Public Sector Pension plans to sail through the House of Commons during its final reading.

With the UK Government threatening to reduce the Scottish budget, Labour needs to explain to Scotland’s public sector workers why they have not opposed these plans. Only last week in the Scottish Parliament, Labour claimed to have deep concerns over changes to public sector pensions but their masters south of the border have been found wanting.

Commenting tonight after the vote on the Public Service Pensions Bill, Dr Whiteford has condemned the coalition’s plans for public sector pensions without proper consultation, causing great uncertainty and insecurity amongst Scotland’s public sector.

Speaking after the vote, Dr Whiteford said:

“These punitive reforms are all about the UK Government's deficit reduction plans, and have nothing to do with securing sustainable pensions. The need for affordable, sustainable and fair public sector pensions is of critical importance to everyone, which is why the short term cash grab by the UK Government is so concerning.

“Pensions reform in Scotland should be taken forward in partnership with public sector workers rather than being imposed by the London Treasury. This bill places new and significant constraints on the Scottish Government’s ability to deliver a fair agreement which reflects Scottish circumstances."

Dr Whiteford went on to say:

"The Bill appears to leave no flexibility for Scottish public servants’ principal concern which is around scheme Normal Pension Ages being equalised with the State Pension Age, or age 60 for police officers and fire-fighters. The UK Government continues to have the power to meddle and influence issues which are central to Scotland’s public sector workers and which should be for the Scottish Government to decide.

“Instead of uniting against these punitive reforms, Labour should be ashamed of themselves for sitting idle and letting the Tories off the hook whilst betraying public sector workers. The SNP will continue to ensure that the voice of ordinary public sector workers is heard in the UK Parliament."

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