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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Workfare not Fair for New Fathers

Sunday, 30 November 2014


SNP QUESTION UNCOVERS THE HARSH REALITY OF WESTMINSTER SANCTIONS

The SNP has today (Sunday) condemned Westminster’s failure to offer support to new fathers after it was revealed that the legal entitlement for Paternity Leave does not extend to jobseeker's allowance claimants in mandatory work or a community placement.

A parliamentary question tabled by SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP uncovered that the legal entitlement to Paternity Leave is not available to people who are forced to work for their benefits.

SNP MSP Christian Allard – a single father - said:

“These unfair rules effectively leave new fathers who are working for their benefits without any rights to see their baby and partner whatsoever.

“Not only does the Westminster system demand people work for free but they don’t even get any time off to be with a new born child - and if they go off anyway then they will sanctioned – it is totally ridiculous.

“I understand exactly how hard it is being a lone parent and fortunately I have always had understanding and fair employers, but sadly the UK Government either don’t understand or just don’t care about this.”

Eilidh Whiteford MP added:

“The sanctioning of a new parent’s benefits who is in a workfare programme threatens to be hugely detrimental to vulnerable families and is grossly unfair. I will be pursuing the Department of Work and Pensions on this matter and will be seeking clarification of the moral and legal grounds on which it was implemented.”

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Whiteford Invites Young Musical Talent to ' Rock the House'

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Young bands and solo artists could win the chance to perform in London

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has urged local bands and solo artists to participate in the House of Commons' annual 'Rock The House' competition. The competition is open to young bands and solo artists across the UK and offers them the opportunity to perform on the Terrace of the House of Commons.

Entries are being sought from across the UK for 5 categories including bands, solo artists and live music venues. Entrants submit a track to their MP, who then selects a local act to nominate to the competition.

Dr Whiteford urged local talent to put themselves forward for the competition, commenting:

"The Rock The House competition has grown massively in the last years and attracted a lot of attention. It is a great way for Parliament to connect with younger people and to recognise their achievements. I know there are some very good young bands and musicians in Banff & Buchan so I encourage them to put themselves forward and show the country just how talented this corner of Scotland is!"

The finals of the competition will be held in London in March 2015 and category winners will be rewarded with top of the range music equipment, slots at music festivals including the Download festival, and the opportunity to perform on the Terrace of the House of Commons. The competition has received the endorsement of high profile musicians including legendary guitarist Brian May and shock rocker Alice Cooper.

Applications are invited until 31st December 2015 and can be filled out online at www.rockthehousehoc.com/apply.

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SNP Will Vote to Prevent NHS Privatisation

Friday, 21 November 2014

KNOCK-ON FOR CUTS TO SCOTLAND

Commenting on the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill which is being debated in the House of Commons today, local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The Scottish National Party will be supporting this Private Members Bill in the House of Commons to prevent the back-door privatisation of the health service.

“While responsibility for the NHS in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, any cuts to NHS funding in England have knock on implications for the Scottish block grant and result in cuts to the Scottish budget.

“The parts of the Bill that apply directly to Scotland would exempt the NHS from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). TTIP could threaten the public ownership of the NHS and could undermine the democratic decisions of the people of Scotland. The Scottish Government’s proposals in its submission to the Smith Commission call for fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament which would give Scottish Government greater control over NHS funding.

“I will be seeking cast iron assurances from the Westminster Secretary of State for Health that the TTIP will not impact on the Scottish Government’s ability to determine how NHS services are provided, and that there will be no obligation to open the NHS in Scotland to private providers as is happening in England.”

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Scottish Interests Frozen Out of Vital Discards Talks

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


North-east representatives condemn Westminster’s silencing of Scottish Fisheries Minister


Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has condemned the UK Government for its decision to refuse the Scottish Fisheries Minister the opportunity to speak at critical EU talks on discards this week.

The Scottish Government’s Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead, who has been in post for 7 years, put in the request to the UK Government to speak in the talks. However, Conservative Lord deMauley was instead chosen to represent the UK in the discussions.

Matters being discussed at this week’s EU Council included the landing obligation, or ‘discards ban’, which fishing industry leaders have warned could be disastrous for Scottish fishing if key concessions are not won.

Commenting from Brussels, Mr Lochhead – who is Europe’s longest serving Fishing Minister – said:

“Today we found ourselves in the crazy position of un-elected Lord Rupert Ponsonby, 7th Baron de Mauley, representing the UK Government and making the briefest of interventions – after being passed a note by an official – on a crucial discussion on the issue of fish discards - an issue the Scots industry tell me is one of the most important they face.”

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford, whose constituency hosts Europe’s largest fishing port, added her voice to the condemnation:

“This week’s Council meeting addressed issues which largely impact the Scottish industry yet an unelected Lord with next to no experience of fishing was chosen by Westminster to speak on the industry’s behalf. With the discards ban looming large on the horizon, we need the strongest voice for our fishermen. Instead, Scotland’s interests were completely frozen out of these critical talks.”

North East MSP Christian Allard attended the SFF’s annual dinner in Edinburgh last week where he heard SFF President Ross Dougal call for Scottish ministers to take the lead in negotiations where appropriate. Mr Allard commented:

“Only last week, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation supported calls for Scottish Ministers to be able to take the lead in fisheries negotiations. News of this farce will disappoint our fishermen at a time when they need the support most.”

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