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Eilidh Whiteford

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UK Government "Must Consider Impact of Austerity on Housing Crisis"

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Scottish National Party MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has called on the UK government to consider the ongoing impact of its austerity agenda on housing.

Speaking during an opposition day debate in the House of Commons today, Dr Whiteford said that UK government cuts have left landlords struggling to invest in new housing stock, and have impacted on the ability of devolved and local governments to meet housing need.

Dr Whiteford said:

“Although much of housing policy in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the financial framework in which it operates is determined at Westminster. Scotland has had a 25 per cent real terms cut to its Capital budget since 2010, and ongoing austerity will restrict the ability of future Governments to respond adequately to a growing housing crisis.

“The SNP's commitment to housing is underlined by the fact that in spite of austerity cuts, the Scottish Government is on track to invest over £1.7 billion pounds to deliver 30,000 new affordable homes by next year – and we're already more than 90 per cent of the way there. That track-record compares favourably with other parts of the UK, and with previous administrations.

“We need a thriving private rented sector that’s an attractive and affordable option for tenants. The cost of buying a house means home ownership has hit a 30 year low, and demand for rented accommodation in both the private and social sector has soared, often driving up rents to eye-watering levels.

"For those on lower incomes, market rents in the current environment are just not realistic and so demand for social housing is at unprecedented levels too. However social housing by successive UK Governments has been a costly oversight – and a big mistake. The UK Government must understand why their approach is so short-sighted, short-term, and short-changes both tax payers and tenants.”

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Local MP Condemns 'Sleekit' Royal Mail Plans

Friday, 5 June 2015

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has condemned the Tory UK Government’s plans to privatise the remaining 30% stake in the Royal Mail.

The local MP, who has long campaigned on Royal Mail issues, says the move further threatens the terms of the Universal Service Obligation – which safeguards postal services and deliveries in rural areas like Banff & Buchan.

The SNP’s Dr Whiteford has questioned the legitimacy of the move by the Tories, as they made no reference to it in the run up to the election.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“Over the years many people have contacted me on a wide range of Royal Mail issues. They have done that because they value the service and, in particular, they value the Universal Service that is vital to health of our rural communities.

“Along with my SNP colleagues we resolutely opposed the privatisation of Royal Mail and we oppose the disposal of the remaining 30 percent stake in the company. The total sale of Royal Mail to the private sector is giving away the family jewels.

“Last year the National Audit Office concluded the sale of Royal Mail was rushed at the expense of value for money, but now the Tories are just carrying on regardless.

“The future of our Royal Mail services continues to be regularly raised with me in communities in Banff & Buchan. The implications of a privatised Royal Mail seeking to dilute or end the Universal Service would increase the cost of doing business in rural area, it could lead to centralised collection of mail and make life very difficult for those who rely on mail services in rural and remote areas.

“This is a sleekit manoeuvre by George Osborne – which he and David Cameron kept very quiet about during the general election campaign and the SNP will continue to argue against this every step of the way.”

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Fraserburgh charity praised for work with disabled

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has praised Fraserburgh charity People First, following a constructive meeting on Friday to discuss the challenges faced by disabled people in the North-east.

The charity, founded in 1993, represents the interests of disabled people in Fraserburgh. The group is run by and for disabled people, and operates a lively drop in centre in the town’s Cross Street.

Dr Whiteford, who was recently announced as the SNP’s Westminster Spokesperson on Social Justice, met with staff and users at the group’s drop-in centre on Cross Street, to hear first hand how disabled people are being affected by the UK Government’s austerity programme.

The Banff & Buchan MP also took the opportunity to hand over a donation of £50.

Dr Whiteford said:

“It is always a pleasure to see first-hand the good work People First do in Fraserburgh, and to find out more about the challenges faced by disabled people living in Banff and Buchan.

“Much of what we discussed was directly related to what is happening at Westminster, and I will continue to hold the UK Government to account over the way it is attacking the welfare system, and the impact that this has on those with disabilities.”

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Eilidh tours Fraserburgh's centre of excellence for whitefish

Friday, 29 May 2015

Dr. Eilidh Whiteford MP has today toured Young’s Fraserburgh, which is now Young’s Seafood Limited’s Centre of Excellence for White Fish processing and packaging.

Dr. Eilidh Whiteford, the MP for Banff & Buchan, saw the progress, investment, job creation and development underway at the site. Since announcing plans to make the Fraserburgh site the Centre of Excellence for White Fish in June 2014, Young’s has rebranded the site from Macrae to Young’s Fraserburgh, made a multi-million pound investment into the site as part of the expansion programme and appointed new senior managers to the team. The expansion programme means that the site now employs between 600 and 700 people, with more roles during busy seasons, in the local community. During her visit, Eilidh met the management, new members of the team who have benefitted from job creation and saw the new equipment installed at the site.

Commenting on her visit, Dr. Eilidh Whiteford MP, said:

“I’m pleased to see the development, investment and job creation underway at Young’s Fraserburgh. Fish processing makes a significant contribution to the local economy, with a strong skill base in the community and it is fantastic that there are so many employment and development opportunities here.”

Darren Beecham, Managing Director of Young’s Fraserburgh, said:

“We are delighted to show Dr. Eilidh Whiteford MP the progress we have made with our plans for Young’s Fraserburgh. Development continues and we’re grateful for the continued support of our MP.”

Pete Ward, Chief Executive of Young’s Seafood Limited, said:

“Having made a number of changes and a significant investment into our site, to develop it into our White Fish Centre of Excellence, we’re very pleased with the progress made to date. We are committed to continuously improving our operations, striving for manufacturing excellence, and providing our customers and consumers with the best value and best quality fish.”

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SNP will fight Tory social security cuts 'every step of the way'

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, the SNP has made clear that it will fight the Tories’ plans for £12bn in welfare cuts ‘every step of the way’ – and that promoting an alternative to continued cuts will be the party’s key priority at Westminster.

The Tory’s commitment to further welfare cuts comes as new statistics published last week show that around a third of the UK population experienced poverty in at least one year between 2010 and 2013 – higher than the EU average of 25%.

During the General Election campaign, the SNP promoted an end to austerity with modest increases in public spending – and SNP MPs will use the party’s unprecedented mandate to put ending cuts at the heart of Westminster’s agenda.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Social Justice spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“We are already well aware of what to expect from the Tory government in this Queen’s speech, with the continuation of the relentless assault on the poor and a further £12bn in cuts to social security – and the SNP will lead the fight against these cuts every step of the way.

“With Labour all over the place and each of their leadership candidates seemingly getting ready to race even further to the right, the SNP is the only real opposition to unfair Tory cuts in the House of Commons – and people in Scotland can be assured that we will fight George Osborne and David Cameron’s plans to impose more cuts on disadvantaged people at every turn.

“The UK Government’s continued commitment to the savage welfare cuts that are inflicting such hardship on so many people underlines why they can’t be allowed to take decisions on social security on Scotland’s behalf any more. The Scottish Parliament needs full powers over employment and social security to allow us to support and empower people – and SNP MPs will fight to have these powers delivered to Scotland.

“At the General Election, people in Scotland gave the SNP an unprecedented democratic mandate to put an end to the cuts agenda which is hurting people across our communities – and we will use this mandate to work with progressive allies both inside and outside of Westminster to lead the fight against Tory austerity and put forward a better plan to benefit people in Scotland and right across the UK.”

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SNP Call on Labour to Challenge Tories on Austerity

Monday, 25 May 2015


LABOUR SHOULD CHOOSE AUSTERITY DEBATE FOLLOWING QUEEN’S SPEECH

The Scottish National Party has called on Labour to use a House of Commons debate to challenge the Tories on austerity.

Labour will have the opportunity to choose debate topics for each of the five themed Queen’s Speech debates over the next week.

The Tory’s commitment to further welfare cuts comes as new statistics published last week show that around a third of the UK population experienced poverty in at least one year between 2010 and 2013 – higher than the EU average of 25 per cent.

During the General Election campaign, the SNP promoted an end to austerity with modest increases in public spending.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Social Justice spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Labour need to show some backbone and use the Queen's Speech to challenge the Tories on their austerity measures.

“We are already well aware of what to expect from the Tory government in this Queen’s speech, with the continuation of the relentless assault on the poor and a further £12bn in cuts to social security – and the SNP will lead the fight against these cuts every step of the way.

“The UK Government’s continued commitment to the savage welfare cuts that are inflicting such hardship on so many people underlines why they can’t be allowed to take decisions on social security on Scotland’s behalf any more. The Scottish Parliament needs full powers over employment and social security to allow us to support and empower people – and SNP MPs will fight to have these powers delivered to Scotland.

“With Labour all over the place and each of their leadership candidates seemingly getting ready to race even further to the right, the SNP is the only real opposition to unfair Tory cuts in the House of Commons – and people in Scotland can be assured that we will stand up for Scotland in Westminster."

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Macduff youngsters welcomed to Westminster

Friday, 22 May 2015

Pupils from Macduff Primary School have enjoyed a first-hand experience of what goes on in the UK Parliament, following last week’s visit to the House of Commons.

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford welcomed the pupils for a look at what happens behind the scenes in the UK Parliament. The youngsters visited Westminster Hall, Central Lobby, and the House of Lords debating chamber.

Speaking after the visit, Eilidh said:
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“It was a pleasure to welcome the pupils to Parliament. I’ve given talks to Macduff’s P6 and 7 classes frequently in recent years, and it’s a great experience for them to come down and see the Westminster Parliament and learn about its quirky traditions. They ask questions worthy of any politician in the Commons debating chamber and there is no doubt a few budding politicians in their ranks.”

A little part of Macduff Primary remained in London following their visit. A flag, designed by pupils at the school, will fly in Parliament square for one week alongside flags designed by schools across the UK to commemorate Westminster’s 750th anniversary. The Macduff Primary design will represent the historic country of Banffshire.

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Whiteford & Allard Welcome Record Fish Landings

Friday, 15 May 2015

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford and North East MSP Christian Allard have welcomed news of record fish landings in Scotland.

The value of fish landed in Scotland increased by 19% to £513m in 2014, according to figures released by the Scottish Government today. The volume of landings has also increased over the last year by 31% to 480,400 tonnes.

Mackerel continues to be the most valuable stock, accounting for £195 million of Scottish landings.

Commenting on the latest Scottish fish landing statistics, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The fishing industry remains a critical employer in Banff & Buchan and despite all the challenges of the last year, these figures indicate that the Scottish industry is resilient and has a profitable and prosperous future ahead of it.

“Going forward, I am confident that the Scottish Government will continue to press for the best deal for our fishing industry, and do all that it can to promote Scotland’s quality produce to international markets.”

Christian Allard, MSP for North-east Scotland, added:

“As someone who has worked in the fishing for well over 30 years, it is great to see an increase in the value and volume of fish landings in Scotland.

“The amount of fish being caught is definitely back in both size and quantity. It is important that local people are given the option of Scottish fish before imports.

“Recently, I praised supermarket Aldi’s decision to promote Scottish fish in their stores. I hope to see more of this throughout our food retail outlets, as it is clear there is scope for growth in local seafood retail to coincide with the growth in local fish landings.”

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Leadership roles for Whiteford

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has been appointed to two prominent leadership positions in the SNP Group at Westminster.

Dr Whiteford, who was re-elected last week with the largest majority in the history of Banff & Buchan, has been appointed as the SNP Group Secretary and as Spokesperson for Work & Pensions. The appointments came as the SNP Group, which now represents 56 out of 59 Scottish seats, met for the first time in Westminster.

The front bench appointment will see Dr. Whiteford go head-to-head with Iain Duncan Smith on some of the most controversial aspects of the Tory’s welfare reform agenda.

Speaking following her appointment, Dr. Whiteford said:

“I’m delighted to accept this appointment, and continue in the role as the SNP’s spokesperson for Work and Pensions.

“With further Tory cuts looming, it is perhaps more important than ever before that SNP MPs stand up for the most vulnerable and provide an anti-austerity voice in Westminster.”

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Whiteford Secures Biggest-Ever Vote in History of Banff & Buchan

Sunday, 10 May 2015


PERCENTAGE SHARE IS BIGGEST SINCE 1931

TORY VOTE DOWN ON 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford secured the biggest-ever vote in the history of the constituency since its creation at Thursday’s election.

Eilidh Whiteford MP with Gordon MP Alex Salmond
and Stuart Donaldson, MP for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine
The SNP candidate polled 27,487 votes, a massive 60.2% of the poll. This surpasses even Alex Salmond’s result in 1997 when he achieved what was then the record of 55.8% of the vote. In fact, you have to go back to the General Election of 1931 in the former constituency of East Aberdeenshire to find a larger percentage share of the vote for any candidate.

The full result in Banff & Buchan was:

Eilidh Whiteford SNP 27,487 60.2% (+18.9%)
Alex Johnstone Con 13,148 28.8% (-2.0%)
Sumon Hoque Lab 2,647 5.8% (-8.2%)
David Evans LD 2,347 5.1% (-6.2%)





SNP Majority
14,339 31.4%
Turnout

66.5% (+5.7%)

Commenting after her re-election, Eilidh said:

“I am humbled by the overwhelming vote of confidence that I have received from the people of Banff & Buchan.

“The results from across Scotland show very clearly that people want Westminster to listen more carefully to their priorities - ending austerity, keeping the NHS public, and delivering substantial more powers for Scotland.

“My job will be to make those voices heard, and to continue to serve the communities that have placed their trust in me.”

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North East Business Leaders Back SNP on Jobs

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


Six key business leaders in the North East of Scotland have endorsed the campaigns of their local SNP candidates.

These endorsements provide a snapshot of the hundreds of local businessmen and women who backed a Business for Scotland letter putting forward the view that a strong Scottish business economy would provide a substantial boost for jobs.
  • Eilidh Whiteford, SNP candidate for Banff and Buchan, has been backed by Jim Gray Sr, founder of manufacturing giants, Gray & Adams Ltd.
  • Alex Salmond, SNP candidate for Gordon, has been backed by Paddy Crerar, CEO of Crerar Management Limited, one of the country’s leading independent hotel management companies, who operate Thainstone House Hotel in the Gordon constituency
  • Angus Robertson, SNP candidate for Moray, has been backed by Chairman of Elgin-based Springfield Properties, Sandy Adam.
  • Stuart Donaldson, SNP candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has been backed by Gordon Henderson, owner of thriving local company Foxlane Garden Centre, who provide vital employment for people with learning disabilities.
  • Callum McCaig, SNP candidate for Aberdeen South, has been backed by the owner of the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa and prominent local businessman, Stewart Spence
  • Kirsty Blackman, SNP candidate for Aberdeen North, has been backed by Kenny Anderson, Managing Director of Anderson Construction and Cancer Charity Chairman.
Commenting during a visit to Gray and Adams Ltd with Eilidh Whiteford, Alex Salmond, SNP candidate for Gordon, said:

“Right across the North East of Scotland, businessmen and women are backing SNP candidates that they know will support the business community at every turn.

“The austerity agenda of the three Westminster parties is hampering growth and holding businesses back while the impending threat to tear Scotland out of the EU hangs over our companies.

“The SNP has a strong record of supporting North East business and the SNP Government in Scotland has used the powers of devolution to support Scottish business where possible, by measures such as the introduction of the Small Business Bonus which has provided vital support to the small businesses that are important employers and the lifeblood of our communities.

“A strong team of SNP MPs will use our influence at Westminster to build on this record, demanding increased support for Scottish companies and the Scottish economy, to boost competitiveness and support jobs.


“This election is Scotland’s opportunity to stand together like never before and speak with one voice, regardless of what party you supported previously. With businesses and voters increasingly backing the SNP, we must unite together, speaking for the benefit of our business community, to ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster and cannot be ignored.”

SNP candidate for Banff and Buchan, Eilidh Whiteford, added:

"I am delighted to have the support of Jim Gray, who built one of the most successful businesses in the North-east and is a major employer here in Banff & Buchan.

“By electing an SNP MP, people in Banff & Buchan can be confident that they will have a strong voice at Westminster fighting for what matters to them - jobs, the NHS and more powers for Scotland.

“It has been a privilege to serve the communities of Banff & Buchan these last 5 years and I hope to continue to have the opportunity to put their aspirations to the top of the Westminster agenda."

Jim Gray Sr, founder of Gray & Adams Ltd., added:

"I am pleased to give my support to Eilidh Whiteford to be re-elected as MP for Banff & Buchan.

“Over the last 5 years, she has proven to be an MP attentive to the needs of local communities and local business and has never shied away from fighting our corner.

“Eilidh grew up in this area and has its best interests at heart. She will be a strong voice for the communities of Banff & Buchan at Westminster, and deserves our support once again."

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Sharp Rise in Foodbank Use is 'Shameful' Demonstration of Damage of Tory Austerity

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A new report by the Trussell Trust showing that the number of people in Scotland using foodbanks rose by two thirds in the last year is the clearest demonstration possible of the damage Tory austerity cuts are causing and why a change of course is needed.

The report shows that more than 117,000 food parcels were distributed in Scotland by the Trussell Trust last year, including more than 36,000 which went to children. This is a 65 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure.

The SNP manifesto published this week commits SNP MPs to action that will help to tackle child poverty, by opposing further cuts to Child Benefit and Tax Credit and supporting increasing free childcare to 30 hours per week by 2020.

Commenting, Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The rise of foodbanks is utterly shameful and there is surely no clearer demonstration of the wilful damage that Tory austerity has caused to communities in Scotland and across the UK.

“Foodbank use has risen by two thirds and tens of thousands of children in Scotland have had to rely on food parcels in the last year.

“It is an absolute disgrace and the Tories’ studied complacency on this issue underlines why it is so important that we are able to lock David Cameron out of Downing Street.

“Meanwhile instead of committing to action, Labour has instead signed up to a further £30 billion of Tory austerity cuts.

“This cannot continue and there must be a change of course on the austerity that is doing so much damage to communities across Scotland.

“The SNP manifesto this week made clear that SNP MPs will oppose further cuts to Child Benefit and Tax Credits and support increasing free childcare to 30 hours per week by 2020.

“A strong team of SNP MPs will work with progressive voices across the UK to take action that helps tackle the scourge of child poverty and foodbank use.”

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Stronger for Banff & Buchan, Stronger for Scotland


EILIDH: "ENDING AUSTERITY IS NUMBER ONE PRIORITY"

Banff & Buchan SNP Candidate Eilidh Whiteford says the SNP’s number one priority is ending austerity and helping the thousands of families across the North-east who are struggling with low wages and cuts to the welfare system that are hitting household budgets hard.

Eilidh Whiteford has set out the SNP’s manifesto commitments for the General Election, pledging that a team of SNP MPs would be stronger for Scotland - and deliver progressive politics for Scotland and for the whole UK.

Along with SNP candidates across Scotland, Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Dr Whiteford has made the following commitments:
  • The SNP are the only party offering an alternative to the Westminster cuts agenda. Our proposal for a modest spending increase of 0.5 per cent a year will enable at least £140 billion extra investment in the economy and public services.
  • For the NHS this will mean an additional £9.5 billion spending above inflation across the UK by 2020/21 - £24 billion in total. This will deliver a total increase for NHS Scotland of £2 billion.
  • I will back plans for an annual UK target of 100,000 affordable homes, and use additional capital investment to deliver a further expansion of house-building in Scotland.
  • I will back an increase in the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020.
  • I will back the restoration of the 50p top income tax rate for those earning over £150,000.
  • I will support an increase in the Employment Allowance from £2,000 per business per year to £6,000, to help smaller firms take on and retain additional staff.
  • I will oppose the £3 billion cut in disability support that threatens to cut the income of a million disabled people by more than £1,000 a year.
  • I will vote to retain the triple lock on pensions and protect the winter fuel allowance.
Eilidh Whiteford said that ending austerity is the SNP's number one priority in this election:

"The SNP has published a manifesto to make Scotland stronger at Westminster. The pledge I make to the people of Banff & Buchan is this. If you vote SNP on 7 May, the SNP will make your voice heard more loudly and clearly than it has ever been heard before at Westminster.

“I will work with SNP colleagues and other politicians who want to deliver progressive change and, above all else, end austerity and the damage it is doing to families and communities right here in Banff & Buchan.

“SNP candidates want to see modest spending increases - the equivalent of increasing departmental spending by 0.5 per cent above inflation - in each year of the next parliament.

"Under our proposal, the deficit and the national debt would still fall each year. But a slightly slower path to eliminating the deficit completely will still allow at least £140 billion extra to be invested in infrastructure and support for business, in protecting our public services, and in policies that will help to lift people out of poverty.

“The elimination of the deficit is important but it cannot continually be at the expense of those who have least, that's why we will back the restoration of the 50p tax rate for the highest earners, a mansion tax, and a bankers' bonus tax.

“We remain 100% opposed to Trident renewal at an eye watering cost of 100 billion pounds, which would be better spent in other public services and in ensuring we have an appropriate conventional defence, including maritime patrol aircraft to replace Nimrods.

"We will vote for an increase in health spending across the UK of £24 billion by 2020/21 - £9.5 billion above inflation. That will deliver a total increase to the budget of NHS Scotland of £2 billion by 2020/21 - and it will ensure that our NHS enters the next decade fully equipped for the challenges it faces.


"The SNP will always support independence - but this election is not about independence. It is about making Scotland stronger.

“Promises have been made by the other parties both during and since the referendum and they must be held to account to ensure those promises are kept.

"A vote for this SNP manifesto on May 7th will make Scotland's voice heard at Westminster more strongly than it has ever been before. And a stronger voice for Scotland will mean new, better and more progressive politics at Westminster - for everyone."



The SNP manifesto may be downloaded here votesnp.com/docs/manifesto.pdf.

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Whiteford & Hudghton in Visit to New Deer Bakery

SNP President and Member of the European Parliament Ian Hudghton has joined Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford campaigning in Central Buchan.

Whilst in New Deer, the pair stopped off at the Kindness Bakery on Main Street to meet with owner Mark Kindness and staff and toured the production line.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Kindness Bakery is a significant local employer and it was a pleasure to meet up with Mark and to hear of some of the issues facing local businesses at this time.

“Rural small businesses are the lifeblood of their local communities and I was pleased to hear of the firm’s plans and recent successes with new clients.”

SNP President Ian Hudghton added:

“I was very impressed with the bakery operation at New Deer and also the range of products which is produced there. It’s clear that Mark and the staff there have a passion for this long-established business and I wish them continued success.”

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Whiteford Attends Last Broch Home League Game of Season

Monday, 20 April 2015

Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford joined Broch SNP councillor Charles Buchan at Bellslea Park on Saturday to cheer on Fraserburgh FC at their last league home game of the season.

The SNP candidate donned her black and white Broch scarf to watch new manager Mark Cowie’s first game in charge of the team.

Commenting after the match, Eilidh said:

“Despite the result, I had a great afternoon at Bellslea in the Fraserburgh sunshine and I’m grateful to Club Chairman Finlay Noble for his hospitality on the day.

“The club has been very much a part of the fabric of the town for the last 105 years and I wish Mark Cowie every success as he takes the team forward next season.”

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Allard and Whiteford Welcome Record Voter Numbers in Scotland

Friday, 17 April 2015

SNP MSP Christian Allard (North East Scotland) and Banff and Buchan Westminster candidate, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, has welcomed the latest figures on the number of people registered to vote with the Electoral Commission in local councils, Scottish Parliament, and UK Parliamentary elections.

March, 2015 figures show that this number now sits at 4,035,394, which is the highest it has ever been for Scotland. This figure surpasses last year’s record of 4,027,187.

With the exception of 2009, the number of people registered to vote in elections has risen every year in Scotland. The number of people registered to vote last year also broke records with 4,285,323 registered to vote in the referendum on Scottish independence – however, this figure also takes 16-17 year olds into account who are not yet entitled to vote in parliamentary or local elections.

North East Scotland constituencies have seen records of their own with regards to levels of registered electorate. As of March 2015, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine had 73,096 people registered to vote – the highest number recorded for that constituency. Gordon constituency also has a record number of people registered with 79,002 people signed up to vote.

In 2004, Banff and Buchan constituency had 65,684 people registered to vote. As of March 2015, that number has now risen to 68,532.

The deadline for electoral registration before the 2015 UK General Election is Monday, 20th April. Online registration can be found at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Commenting, Christian Allard MSP said:

“Democracy works when people get involved. It is great to see such high numbers of people interested in their politics and registering to vote.

“People across the North-East, and across Scotland as a whole, have felt the sting of Westminster cuts to our services. With wages being driven down in real terms, and the cost of living spiralling out of control, it is clear to see that the economic recovery is not being felt by many.

“People want great change as a result of this UK General Election. I urge all who have not yet done so, to register to vote.”

SNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Banff and Buchan, Dr. Eilidh Whiteford also commented:

"There is a re-energisation of politics in Scotland and people are once again engaged and prepared to act on issues which they feel strongly about. I welcome the rise in numbers of people in Banff & Buchan registered and would urge anyone hoping to vote, to take action now to get on the register."

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Whiteford Calling - World Famous Phone Box in Urgent Need of Repairs

Monday, 13 April 2015

Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford is calling on BT to take urgent action to spruce up one of the area’s unlikely visitor attractions before the tourist season gets underway.

While out campaigning in Pennan, the SNP candidate had it drawn to her attention just what a sorry state the village’s famous red telephone box was in, with the door off its hinges and in need of a lick of paint. The phone box was made famous by the 1983 film ‘Local Hero’, which was filmed in Pennan and still attracts film buffs who locals say make it one of the most-used telephone kiosks in the country.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“Pennan is one of the iconic tourist destinations on the Moray Firth, made famous by ‘Local Hero’, which over 30 years later still draws people to the village.

“One of the biggest stars of the film is the red telephone box from where the American oil executive calls home to the USA. It was therefore very disappointing to see it in the condition it was in, badly in need of a spruce-up and with the door propped-up against the wall having come off its hinges.

“I’ve contacted BT on the matter and I hope that they will take action to remedy the situation in time for the tourist season.”

Local SNP councillor for Pennan, Ross Cassie added:

“It was very sad to see this cinema icon in such a poor state. Even on a rainy afternoon when I went to see it, Pennan was full of tourists, many of them taking photographs of the phone box. I hope BT will get this repaired soon.”

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Blow for Labour as 2010 Election Candidate Backs SNP's Whiteford

Friday, 10 April 2015

Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford’s campaign received a major boost today as one of her opponents from the 2010 Election publicly backed her candidacy.

Glen Reynolds, who stood for the Labour Party in Banff & Buchan at the last General Election has given his backing to Eilidh Whiteford and the SNP.

Speaking on the day nominations for the constituency closed, Glen Reynolds said:

"I left the Labour Party because the Labour Party left me. Key Labour figures now talk about being anchored to the 'centre ground'. For 'centre ground', you can read the economic status quo, and I do not believe that is the right political approach for this area.

“I support Eilidh Whiteford because she will work for change, as she has been doing as an MP for the last five years. I believe Labour has become too close to the Tories in its values and outlook. For myself, this heavy hearted change to the SNP from Labour does not happen overnight, at least not when you have been steeped in Labour activism, having been a parliamentary candidate twice, supported by UNISON, and having been a Labour Councillor.

“Eilidh represents all that was important to me about my political values which have been jettisoned by Labour. And she is a rarity amongst many Westminster politicians - she is someone you can trust, not just with fighting to overcome austerity measures, but to work hard for you at Westminster, not for the status quo but for a change in the direction that Westminster threatens."

Glen was also previously Labour’s candidate for Berwick in the 2005 election and has been an elected councillor.

Welcoming the backing from Glen Reynolds, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“I’m delighted to have Glen’s support. Glen was a principled opponent at the 2010 election and I’m very pleased indeed to welcome him as a principled fellow-campaigner in 2015.

“In many ways, the journey Glen has made over the last few years is being mirrored across the country, certainly in the Labour Party, but also by supporters of other parties who are increasingly coming to the view that the Westminster system of government is failing people in Scotland and that better decisions will be made closer to home by people who are accountable to us.”

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Photography contest showcases the best of Strichen

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford was on hand at the weekend to present prizes to the winners of a special photography contest.

Strichen Community Park challenged amateur photographers to snap the park looking at its best. The contest was a runaway success with visitors from as far afield as Australia submitting photographs via the Park's Facebook page. Over 100 entries were submitted and on Saturday at the Park, the winners were revealed as Debbie Breese from New Aberdour for 1st and 3rd prizes, with Lee-ann McLean of Inverallochy scooping 2nd prize.

Eilidh Whiteford, who presented the prizes to the lucky winners, commented:

"The Strichen Community Park is one of the real beauty spots in Banff & Buchan and has been increasingly popular in recent years.

"There were some beautiful shots of the Park through all the seasons and the winning entries were really quite special. What a fantastic advert for the Park and for the North-east."

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Eilidh ranked one of Scotland's hardest working MPs

Thursday, 19 March 2015


New figures from the House of Commons Library have revealed Eilidh Whiteford to be one of Scotland's hardest working Members of Parliament.


The SNP MP for Banff & Buchan ranks 9th out of 59 Scottish MPs for contributions to debates - making over 500 speeches and interventions since her election in 2010.

In the period 2010-2015, Eilidh has also asked over 700 parliamentary questions.

The statistics put the Banff & Buchan MP's parliamentary contributions well ahead of some high-profile Scottish MPs including the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the former Chancellor Alistair Darling and LibDem MP Charles Kennedy.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

"When I was elected in 2010, I promised to work my socks off for my constituents and that is what I have done to the best of my ability. I have spoken in a lot of debates and I have asked a lot of questions of this ConDem UK Government but that is exactly what Banff & Buchan needs and expects.

"Banff & Buchan is a diverse community and I have spoken on issues from farming and fishing to broadband and support for the vulnerable.

​"Being the MP for Banff & Buchan these last 5 years has been an immense privilege which I am keen to continue."

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Eilidh urges women to use their vote in May

Monday, 16 March 2015


Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has pledged to support two of the UK’s leading women’s charities in their call for all women to use their ‘vital’ vote in this year’s General Election. Dr. Whiteford has pledged to listen to women, especially survivors of violence against women and girls in the constituency when campaigning and in Parliament.


Girlguiding and Women’s Aid, who together represent and support nearly one million girls and women across the UK, want to ensure all women’s voices are heard at the ballot box on May 7th. More than 10,000 girls in guiding will be first-time voters in May.

The joint plea came as the two charities hosted a cross-party event in Parliament on Wednesday, highlighting the issues that matter to women ahead of this General Election. Dr. Whiteford has signed the Women’s Aid pledge to Hear Her, See Her, Believe Her¸and is supporting Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign.

Speaking afterwards, Dr. Whiteford said:

“Women and girls are essential in my constituency, and we cannot make good political decisions without taking women and girls into account. I am pleased to support Women’s Aid and Girlguiding in urging all the women in my constituency to vote, and pledge to take their concerns and experiences into account in my work in the constituency and in Parliament.”

Women’s Aid are urging parliamentarians to ensure their constituency offices are a safe place for women to disclose domestic violence, and to include information from Women’s Aid on their websites about how to register to vote anonymously. Women’s Aid wants to see Parliamentarians to commit to supporting their calls for sustainable funding for specialist needs-led domestic violence services and widen the legal aid gateway as these are two of the things that matter most to survivors.

Women’s Aid Chief Executive, Polly Neate, said:

“Survivors of domestic violence often feel like they are in an invisible prison: that no one sees the violence or believe them if they speak out about it. So many women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner, so it’s essential their voices are listened to. We’re urging all survivors to vote, and most of all, urging every politician to see, hear, and believe the women in their constituencies who are being abused.”

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UK spending lowest proportion of its wealth on supporting children than at any time since 1977

Monday, 9 March 2015


Research showing that Britain is spending a lower proportion of its wealth on supporting children than at any time since 1977 has been condemned as a demonstration of Westminster’s failure to act on child poverty.

Research by the House of Commons Library has revealed that the proportion of GDP spent on child benefit has fallen to 0.6 per cent – the lowest level it has reached at any time since 1977.

The Child Poverty Action Group has previously estimated that up to 100,000 more children in Scotland risk being pushed into poverty by 2020.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions Spokesperson and Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The fact that the UK is spending less of its wealth on child benefit than at any time since 1977 is an appalling indictment of the lack of importance the Westminster Government attaches to reducing child poverty.

“It shows that there is a complete lack of will amongst the Westminster establishment to tackle the increasing child poverty being driven by their austerity agenda.

“Only a powerful voice for Scotland with a strong team of SNP MPs can achieve change, and help deliver progressive policies across the UK. And the Scottish Government must have the opportunity to step in. That is why Scotland needs far greater welfare responsibilities than have thus far been proposed – again, something only a vote for the SNP can secure.”

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Eilidh shows her green fingers with student entrepreneurs

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Eilidh joined students from the Fraserburgh campus of North East Scotland College as they took a green approach to demonstrate their effective money management skills. The second year class invested a grant of £200 in a “Mad about Plants” enterprise, creating and selling a wide variety of planters and arrangements in the local community.

Janice Smith, Horticulture lecturer said:

“The Money for Life Challenge is a chance for the students to develop their financial skills and see how money can literally grow! We are hoping to get the message across that it doesn’t cost a lot to grow plants, anyone can do it and that plants contribute to a good healthy environment.”

The students welcomed the support of Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, who joined the students at Fraserburgh Campus to look at some of the creations on offer. Dr Whiteford commented:

“I was impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the students and wish them luck in their bid to win the national competitions that they have entered. This project is really equipping the young people with the skills and qualities that they will need to draw on in working life and I commend them for their hard work.”

The Mad about Plants team have raised over £300 in sales to date and, in true entrepreneurial spirit, this will be ploughed into the next green fingered project on the horizon.

The Money for Life Challenge is a national competition which provides grants for 16 to 24 year olds to run a project to improve money management skills in their communities. The most inspiring and impactful projects progress to the National Finals and the UK Grand Final.

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Dismay at UK Government's rejection of LGBTI rights envoy

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


The SNP has today voiced disappointment at the UK Government’s rejection of the creation of a special Foreign Office envoy to promote the rights of LGTBI people throughout the world.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question from SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford, Foreign Office minister David Lidington said that the UK Government did not support the creation of such an envoy – and said creating a new post would be “ticking a box”.

Last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her support for an envoy – and said that a team of SNP MPs elected at the General Election would support the creation of such a post "to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the word, as an integral part of UK foreign policy".

Commenting on today’s developments, Dr. Whiteford said:

“It is deeply disappointing that Foreign Office Minister David Lidington has rejected proposals for the creation of an LGTBI envoy."

"As the First Minister stated last month, there is cross-party support for an envoy – just as there is support for such a post in the United States – and the SNP is prepared to work across party boundaries to ensure the role is established. For Mr Lidington to refer to the role as a “ticking a box” is extremely insulting."

“Too many LGBTI people in too many countries still face the most extreme forms of prejudice and hate - our voice must be one of those arguing and advocating for equality, tolerance and love."

"That is why a team of SNP MPs elected in May will continue to push the case for the establishment of a special envoy - a diplomatic post within the Foreign Office - to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the word, as an integral part of UK foreign policy."

"By voting for a strong team of SNP MPs in May, the people of Scotland can achieve change to deliver policies that are right for this country - and advance the cause of progressive policies across the UK."

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Labour's Murphy makes "redundant" policy plea to voters

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Scottish National Party has blasted Jim Murphy for failing to keep abreast of Scottish welfare policy following a "redundant" policy plea to voters.

Scottish Labour's latest gaffe has seen Jim Murphy claim his party will make social housing tenants £3000 a year better off by abolishing the bedroom tax, forgetting that no one in Scotland has to pay the Bedroom Tax due to measures brought in by the Scottish Government.


It has been reported Jim Murphy will be making the pleas this week at SCVO's Glasgow Gathering.

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

"Jim Murphy's weekend of gaffes has gone from bad to worse.

"Scottish Labour are really desperate if they are trying to appeal to voters by making up redundant policies.

“The Scottish Government has spent £300m mopping up Westminster’s mess on welfare so that Scots are not subjected to the Bedroom Tax- the fact that Jim Murphy seems unaware of this is mind boggling.

“Westminster’s welfare cuts are causing real hardship in communities across Scotland – hitting families with children hardest and pushing another 100,000 children into poverty by 2020.

“While Scottish Labour don't seem to have a clue, a strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power after the General Election can ensure Westminster delivers on the Vow of ‘extensive’ welfare powers."

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Fair pay for a fair day's work

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Commenting on David Cameron’s new proposals for Job Seeker’s Allowance, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“David Cameron seems intent on punishing young unemployed people when we need fair pay for a fair day’s work.

“In Scotland, the Scottish Government offers much more to our young people such as the Opportunities for All programme which offers a place in work, training or education for every 16-19 year old with over 25,000 Modern apprenticeships each year. We are offering real opportunities to our young people and as a result, youth unemployment is at the lowest level for five years, and record numbers are finding positive destinations after leaving school.

“But the Scottish Government could do even more to help young people if the powers over employment policy were devolved, as promised by the Smith Commission. A vote for the SNP in May will strength Scotland's hand at Westminster, and help us improve the prospects of our young people.”


Scottish Government's Opportunities for All programme
© Crown Copyright 2015

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Rollout of Universal Credit Shows Westminster is Failing to Listen

Monday, 16 February 2015

As the rollout of Universal Credit begins at 150 jobcentres across the UK, the Westminster Government has been accused of a complete failure to listen.

Numerous welfare organisations have called for the rollout of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments to be halted until plans to devolve some welfare powers to Scotland are carried out.

Last month, 56 charity organisations in Scotland wrote to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith calling for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted until the process of legislating for new welfare powers for Scotland is completed.

Despite these calls, the rollout of Universal Credit has continued with 150 job centres moving over to the benefit from today (Monday).

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

“As the rollout of Universal Credit steps up a gear today, the Westminster Government has once again shown that it is completely incapable of listening.

“Extensive evidence has been put forward by charity organisations from across Scotland that the rollout should be stopped while powers are transferred, but Iain Duncan Smith refuses to act.

“With charity organisations on the front line of dealing with Westminster’s welfare cuts simply being ignored, it is clearer than ever that Westminster cannot be trusted to make decisions over welfare on Scotland’s behalf.

“Of course the fact is that the current proposals for welfare devolution go nowhere near far enough and leave far too much control in the hands of Westminster.

“Electing a strong team of SNP MPs in May will ensure that Scotland’s voice cannot be ignored, and use our clout in a hung parliament to gain the welfare responsibilities we need to build a fairer society."

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Eilidh Whiteford defends the NHS for Banff and Buchan

Sunday, 15 February 2015

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Labour Plans Don't Address Real Problems

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

TORY/LABOUR AUSTERITY HURTING BUT NOT WORKING

Following an opposition day debate in the House of Commons on plans for a Jobs Guarantee, it has become clear that both Westminster parties are still wedded to the austerity agenda and are failing to address the underlying causes of long term unemployment in the economy. Both Labour and Tories are pledged to another £30 billion worth of cuts which have already had a disproportionate effect on the most disadvantaged in our society. The influential Institute of Fiscal Studies has suggested that there are huge cuts still to come following the election, further hitting communities and families suffering from Westminster’s austerity agenda.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson commented:

“We will support any measures aimed at tackling long term unemployment, but what is being proposed by the Labour party won’t fully address the underlying causes of long term unemployment, and will leave young people languishing on JSA for a year before they get the offer of a job. It is really important that we intervene earlier, as all the evidence suggests that earlier interventions are much more effective.”

“In response to youth unemployment in the wake of the financial crash, the Scottish Government introduced the ‘Opportunities for All’ scheme, which offers every 16-19 year old a place in work, education or training. Take up of that scheme has been overwhelming: record levels of school leavers - over 92 percent - now have a positive destination on leaving school. And more importantly, those positive destinations are sustained for 90 percent of school leavers. The number of young people not in education, training or employment is now at its lowest level since before the financial crash, and has decreased across every local authority area. It’s a good example of the Scottish Government working in partnership with local authorities, schools, colleges and employers, empowering them to deliver opportunities for our young people.

“The Smith Commission recommended that the full powers of Employment Support be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. In May we need a strong team of SNP MPs elected to Westminster to make the case for the ‘extensive’ new powers we were promised – and put an end to the Labour and Tory economic alliance on austerity – which we know is just not working for communities across Scotland.”

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Whiteford Congratulates New NFUS President

Banff & Buchan MP and SNP Westminster Agriculture spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford has congratulated Allan Bowie on his election as the 61st President of the National Farmers Union of Scotland.

Eilidh Whiteford MP with Allan Bowie and SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton
Mr Bowie takes over the presidency from Nigel Miller, who steps down having served for four years.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“I congratulate Allan Bowie on being elected to one of the most important jobs in Scottish farming.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting Allan when he was Vice-President at NFUS meetings, at local shows, in the House of Commons and in Brussels with my colleague Ian Hudghton MEP. The NFUS has an important role in providing a voice for its members and I pay tribute to Nigel Miller for his hard work on behalf of the industry over his four year-term.

“I’m sure Allan will be the first to acknowledge he will have a hard act to follow but I wish him every success in his efforts for Scottish farming.”

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New SNP Depute Leader Speaks at Local Burns Supper

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Peterhead Branch SNP and Cruden Bay, Hatton & Longhaven Branch SNP held their annual joint Burns Supper in Longhaven Hall.

The event, which attracted over 70 guests, heard speeches from local MP and Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford and recently-elected SNP Depute Leader Stewart Hosie, MP for Dundee East.

SNP Council Group Leader and former Director of Education for Aberdeenshire Hamish Vernal gave the Address to the Haggis in fine style, and a highly entertaining rendition of Tam O’Shanter was provided by Gordon Mackay, who also provided the evening’s musical entertainment with his son, Ewan.

Local MP Eilidh Whiteford said:

“We were delighted Stewart Hosie was able to accept our invitation to speak at this year’s Burns Supper.

“The turnout was excellent and was a great celebration of the life and work of our national bard, Rabbie Burns. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of the night and especially to our guest speakers from far and near and our fantastic musicians.”

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Whiteford Speaks up for Dairy Industry in Westminster Debate

Banff & Buchan SNP MP and SNP Westminster spokesperson on Agriculture, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, has accused the UK Government of a “dereliction” in not allowing the Groceries Code Adjudicator to impose penalties on those who violate the code.

A flashback to 2012 when local farmers protested
at milk prices outside the Peterhead Branch
of Iceland, supported by local MP Eilidh Whiteford.
The MP was speaking in a debate on a report from the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee into the industry.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“I have a sense of déjà vu, because back in 2012 we debated the crisis in the dairy industry here in Westminster Hall. At that time, I welcomed the introduction of what was then the new voluntary code of conduct, but I pointed out that farm-gate prices were still too low to be viable, and that, until the prices paid to producers exceeded the cost of production, we would not have a sustainable dairy industry. That essential issue, which is not fully addressed by either the voluntary code or the Groceries Code Adjudicator, still underpins the problems facing the dairy sector.

“Most of Scotland’s milk production—92% of it—is for domestic UK markets, and primary producers, who have high input costs, are caught in and continually squeezed by over-concentrated supply chains. Dairy farmers point out that that those who supply Asda, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland and Waitrose receive substantially less than the cost of production for their milk. Asda’s suppliers say that they receive 56p for four pints against a production cost of 68p. Dairy producers cannot be expected to subsidise retailers in that way. In the long term, that is not in the interests of our food security or consumers to push dairy farmers out of business.

“When legislation for the Groceries Code Adjudicator was going through Parliament back in 2012, I argued strongly that the restrictions on who could make representations to the adjudicator would place serious limitations on its effectiveness. I would definitely like to see the adjudicator being able to investigate complaints from parties other than direct suppliers. The situation we are discussing is a good example of where that would be beneficial. However, that would still address only the symptoms.

“The Government’s failure to empower the adjudicator to impose penalties on those in violation of the code is a real dereliction that I hope they will put right with all due haste. I do not want the adjudicator to be another useless quango. Given the time constraints, I will not say anything about the intervention price except that I hope that the Minister will raise that at EU level so that it is on the policy makers’ agenda.

“To allow our dairy sector to sink and diminish without trace is short-sighted. We all recognise that there is a future for the sector in growing export markets. If we are smart, we could develop those markets for high quality, value added products. We have a strong traditional industry with a reputation for quality, excellent animal welfare and food standards and distinctive, unique regional products. Notwithstanding the current market issues, there are substantial and growing opportunities for our dairy industry and a clear role for Governments throughout the UK in supporting their development. However, while we are still selling milk below the cost of production, we will not have a sustainable industry.”

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New Deer Sports Facility Bags Energy Firm Donation

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Volunteers at the New Deer All Weather Facility were celebrating this weekend after energy firm Moray Offshore Renewables made a £28,000 donation that will allow the project to be completed after almost nine years.

The £405,000 project to build an all weather sports pitch and a new pavilion at New Deer is due to be completed by Easter.

Project co-ordinator, Helen Young, welcomed the cash boost which has closed the final funding gap faced by the project. Helen said:

"We really are indebted to Moray Offshore Renewables for this vital funding which has helped bring a project 9 years in the making to fruition. This simply could not have been possible without the invaluable support of our MP Eilidh Whiteford. Together, they have provided the last piece in the jigsaw for a fantastic facility which will serve New Deer and the surrounding area for decades to come."

Local MP, Eilidh Whiteford, who encouraged the energy firm to support the New Deer project, welcomed the funding announcement:

"The New Deer sports project is a real community-led campaign and the leadership shown by Helen and other volunteers should be commended in bringing it to fruition. It will benefit so many sports groups in the central Buchan area and I am pleased that I could be of assistance in helping secure in this final piece of funding that will allow completion of the facility​."​

Representatives from Moray Offshore Renewables, which hopes to build a 186-wind turbine farm in the Moray Firth, presented the cheque for £28,820 to Helen Young on Friday in New Deer.

Commenting, Dan Finch, Project Director for Moray Offshore Renewables said:

“I am delighted that Moray Offshore Renewables has been able to join other companies in contributing to this excellent facility. The New Deer Community Trust has done outstanding work in delivering this much needed project and are to be congratulated on their hard work and determination​."

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Whiteford Selected as SNP Candidate for UK Election

Friday, 30 January 2015

Eilidh Whiteford has been re-selected to contest the Banff & Buchan constituency for the Scottish National Party at the UK General Election on 7 May.

Eilidh was the sole nominee and was unanimously re-selected by SNP branches within the constituency. This will be Eilidh’s second election campaign for Banff & Buchan, having won the seat in the 2010 election.
Since succeeding Alex Salmond as Banff & Buchan’s MP, Eilidh has maintained the high work-rate which constituents have come to expect from their SNP representatives, dealing with literally thousands of cases on behalf of local people and raising concerns with Government Ministers and public officials, being accessible through surgeries and visits to community groups, and is assiduous in speaking up for Banff & Buchan in the House of Commons, as evidenced by her “well above-average” number of contributions to debates.

Speaking following her nomination, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“It has been my great honour and privilege to represent the people of Banff & Buchan in the Westminster Parliament for these past 5 years and I am very pleased to have been reselected to stand again in May’s election.

“I’m very proud to have been selected once again by the local SNP as their candidate. Locally, the party goes into this campaign in better heart and better resourced than ever before. With a huge increase in membership during the last four months and with roots in all parts of this wonderful constituency the SNP is relishing this campaign.

“I will be standing on my record of speaking up for my constituents, be that at Westminster or in my approaches on their behalf to public bodies, and on seeking to secure the best deal from government, be that at Westminster, Scottish or local level, for Banff & Buchan.

“In the course of the campaign I will outline my priorities and use the campaign to highlight several local issues from across the constituency. But with the SNP currently standing at over 40% in the opinion polls for Westminster and if this translated into MPs we could secure our largest ever group of MPs and possibly hold the balance of power. We will ensure that the powers promised for Scotland are delivered and we will use any and every opportunity to progress Scotland’s agenda and deliver for the people of Scotland.”

Convener of Banff & Buchan SNP Norma Thomson added:

“Eilidh has been a first class representative for Banff & Buchan during her time in office and I’m delighted she has been reselected unanimously to be the SNP candidate at the forthcoming UK General Election.

“She has spoken up in the House of Commons for Banff & Buchan and its people without fear or favour and has one of the best records for doing so amongst all MPs across all the parties and we’re fortunate to have such a good local candidate as our MP.”

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'Modo Matters' Says Local MP

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has praised the work of CircoModo Aberdeenshire. The SNP MP was attending the 'Modo Matters' Awards last night in Peterhead where she presented the Saltire Ascent Awards.

Martin Danziger and Eilidh Whiteford MP with
some of the young people involved in CircoModo
Commenting, Eilidh said:

“I was delighted to be able to present these awards to so many talented young people.

“Modo is a real asset to the community and the shows they have put on over the years in Macduff, Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Mintlaw have been truly spectacular.

“While everyone can appreciate the spectacle of the public performance, in a lot of ways, the real value of Modo is the work it does with young people in developing their confidence, helping them to work in co-operation with others and giving them a sense of pride in what they do and in their civic community.

“Martin Danziger and his team deserve our thanks for their efforts and I look forward to the next community event from Modo.”

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"Westminster Holds the Purse-Strings" on Scotland's Budget

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

SNP VOTES TO PROTECT SCOTTISH NHS

The Scottish National Party has today supported calls for increased public spending on the NHS in England following a debate in the House of Commons.

Speaking during the debate, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“The reality of devolution is that Westminster holds the purse strings. The funding formula by which the devolved governments receive their block grants is directly related to budget decisions made for England in devolved policy areas.

“The truth is that there has been a 10% cut in Scotland’s fiscal resource budget since 2010, and a 26% real terms cut in Scotland’s capital budget. Nevertheless, the Scottish Government has increased the Health resource budget by 4.6% in real terms – and every penny of additional budget consequentials accruing from health spending has been spent on health. This coming year, health spending in Scotland will break the £12 billion pound barrier for the first time.

“The practical consequences of increased health spending in Scotland can be seen in record staffing levels – up 6.5% overall, with record numbers of consultants, over 1700 more nurses, and a 7% increase in GPs under the SNP Government.

“Efforts to join-up health and social care that are threatened by the austerity agenda and the cuts that both front benches seem to have shackled themselves to. Local authority budgets are already under pressure and further cuts in the public services they provide, including the preventative and early interventions they fund, risks driving up still further the pressures on the NHS.”

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Large Turnout for SNP Burns Supper in Fraserburgh

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Around 180 guests attended last Saturday night’s Scottish National Party Burns Supper, held at Fraserburgh Leisure Centre. Former First Minister Alex Salmond MSP was guest of honour and proposed the immortal memory.

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford chaired the evening’s proceedings, while Keith & Cullen councillor Gary Coull proposed the Toast to the Lassies, which was replied to by Cllr Pearl Paul, Leader of the SNP Group on Moray Council. Recitations were provided throughout the evening from Kevin Lamb and Sandy Noble gave the Address to the Haggis in fine style.

Commenting, local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I was delighted with the huge turnout, which is testament to the big increase in SNP membership experienced locally. The attendance at the Burns Supper is one of the biggest we’ve had and meant we had to put a limit on the number of tickets we could sell.

“Credit must go to the management and staff at Fraserburgh Leisure Centre for their efficiency on the night and of course the excellent meal they provided.

“The SNP in Banff & Buchan is going from strength to strength thanks to the efforts of our hardworking team of volunteers, which has expanded greatly over the last few months.”

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Coalition Cuts Hitting Young Families Hardest

The coalition’s changes to benefits and direct taxes have hurt families with children under five harder than any other household group, according to the most comprehensive evaluation yet of the UK government’s social policy record.

The report – prepared by a group of academics overseen by the LSE and the Universities of Manchester and York – also said that the poorest were the hardest hit, and that the cuts to welfare were offset by the cost of tax cuts higher up the income scale, with no overall contribution to paying down the deficit.

The report concludes that the government’s stated aim that the rich should contribute proportionately more to repairing the country's finances has “not been realised”.

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

“This report lays bare the extent of the UK government's disastrous austerity agenda.

“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts, but the real powers over tax and welfare still remain in Westminster – despite the fact that the UK government has proven time and time again it cannot be trusted to look out for our most vulnerable people.

“While the SNP voted against continued austerity from Westminster, Scottish Labour sided with the coalition and voted for £30bn more austerity which, as this report shows, hits the poorest the hardest. 

“A strong team of SNP MPs will ensure that Scotland's priorities will become Westminster's priorities, and force an end to failed austerity."

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MP Calls for Treasury to Take Urgent Action to Protect North Sea Jobs

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

SNP MP for Banff & Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, has called on the UK Government to take urgent action on tax in order to protect North Sea jobs, in a debate held in Westminster this week.

With a falling oil price, a number of announcements of job losses have been made by oil operators, including the announcement by Talisman Sinopec this week that they would shed up to 300 jobs. Last week, the Scottish Government launched an Energy Jobs Taskforce to combat job losses.

In a debate at Westminster, Dr. Whiteford called for the UK Treasury to immediately act on the tax regime for North Sea oil and gas companies to encourage investment. Speaking after the debate, Dr. Whiteford commented:

“Reform to the oil and gas fiscal regime must not wait until the budget, but must be implemented now and this should include a commitment from the UK Government to a substantial reduction in the Supplementary Charge rate, which they introduced in 2011 to disastrous effect. In addition, faster progress is also required on the establishment of the Oil and Gas Authority.

“The North Sea has suffered from an unstable and unpredictable fiscal regime for decades and companies now need urgent action in order to avoid the premature decommissioning of assets and the loss of highly skilled workers.

“Successive Westminster governments have been quick to squeeze the industry at any opportunity, but when support is needed they are far slower off the mark.

"A strong team of SNP MPs after the General Election will ensure that the needs of the sector cannot be put on the back burner, and that Westminster takes the action that is needed to protect jobs in the sector.”

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Whiteford Makes a Stand in Parliament Against Nuclear Weapons

Scottish Labour vote with Tories to spend £100bn on new weapons

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford made a stand in Parliament against nuclear weapons this week, voting to oppose the renewal of the £100bn Trident system.

The SNP’s motion debate at Westminster sought to cancel the next generation of deadly Trident nuclear weapons. Scottish Labour had threatened to boycott the debate but in an extraordinary decision – for the second time in two weeks - Labour have voted to support the Tories, this time on spending £100 billion on nuclear weapons. The SNP, together with a progressive alliance of the Greens and Plaid Cymru led the calls to have these weapons cancelled.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"It is absolutely indefensible and morally repugnant to waste £100bn on weapons of mass destruction whilst food bank use is rocketing, and more and more children are being pushed into poverty. I voted to oppose nuclear weapons in Parliament this week so that we can better spend these colossal sums of money on making a positive difference to our society.

"It is a sad indictment of what the Scottish Labour party has become that they voted to support the renewal of Trident - only a week after they voted to push through more Tory cuts.

“With a strong team of SNP MPs after the General Election, Scotland can hold the balance of power and can force Westminster to abandon this disastrous commitment – and ensure these immoral weapons are removed from Scotland for good.”

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Parliamentarians Highlight Call for New Volunteers

Monday, 19 January 2015

Mediation service Avenue on the look-out for new counsellors

Local parliamentarians Eilidh Whiteford MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP have urged volunteers to come forward after meeting with a local counselling charity’s managers on Friday.

 Liz Wallace, Stewart Stevenson MSP,
Eilidh Whiteford MP, Arlene Harvey
Dr Whiteford and Mr Stevenson met with Chief Executive Liz Wallace and Contact Centre Manager Arlene Harvey at Avenue’s Peterhead base, to discuss the charity's work in the North-east. Avenue provides a range of counselling and mediation services to families dealing with relationship breakdown, and works with dozens of families locally.

Chief Executive Liz Wallace said:

“Demand for our services has grown exponentially in recent years across the North-east. We are crying out for new volunteers who have the skills to take up this challenging, but deeply rewarding work."

Speaking after the meeting, Dr Whiteford said:

“It was good to hear more about what Avenue does locally, supporting families – largely through the efforts of volunteers.

“It’s a service which is always looking to recruit volunteers able to commit some time on a regular basis, and who receive full training and support, to help with this worthwhile service. I would encourage anyone who thinks they might have a listening ear and some time to spare to come forward."

Mr Stevenson added:

“Without third sector organisations like Avenue, many families would fall through the net. Although the North-east is one of Scotland’s wealthier areas overall, there remain significant problems with deprivation – and the reality is that family breakdown can affect anyone. The work being done at Avenue is invaluable."

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MP Highlights Work of Local Cancer Charity

​Peterhead, Turriff and Fraserburgh benefit from support services​

​B​anff​ and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has thanked staff at a local cancer charity for​ ​their hard work, following a meeting on Friday.

Lily Cowie, Eilidh Whiteford MP and Angie Christie
Dr Whiteford met with Area Co-ordinator Angie Christie at the charity's base at the Hot Spot in Peterhead, to discuss CLAN's work locally and to meet with volunteers.

As well as maintaining comfortable hotel-style accommodation in Aberdeen for cancer patients who live a long distance from ARI and their families, the charity offers drop-in support services in Peterhead on Wednesdays and Fridays, 10am-4pm, from its base in the town's Kirk Street. These include counselling, complementary therapies and advice on dealing with cancer and the effects of its treatment. CLAN also runs services in Turriff (Fridays, 10am-4pm), and Fraserburgh (Mondays, 10am-4pm).

Area Co-ordinator Angie Christie said:

​​"We're developing the service locally, and we welcome any help we can get from volunteers or fundraisers."

Speaking afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

​​"It was great meeting with Angie and the staff at CLAN to find out what the charity does locally. The range of services on offer is huge, and represents an extremely valuable local resource for those living with cancer."

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Peterhead Fire - Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP Comments

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Commenting on the fire at the North Bay Pelagic premises in Peterhead this weekend, SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said :

"This was a major blaze – and crews from Scottish Fire and Rescue brought it under control in the early hours of this morning. Once again they are owed a huge debt of gratitude for their professionalism and bravery. Thankfully, Police Scotland reported no casualties – but there has been considerable disruption to the town.

"This will be a very uncertain time for the workforce. Once the extent of the damage is known – and investigators will start that process - we will be in a better position to assess what kind of assistance might be required."

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