Eilidh Whiteford



Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Making his last speech in the House of Commons as MP for Banff & Buchan tonight (Tuesday) during the Budget debate, SNP Leader Alex Salmond MP said:

“As I argued during this same debate 12 months ago, until there is enough strength in the private sector, it is vital that the fiscal stimulus is maintained.

“I am not alone in arguing this case. The IMF argue that “one of the key lessons from experiences of similar crises is that a premature withdrawal of policy stimulus can be very costly, particularly if the financial system is weak.

“Even the Prime Minister agrees. With his warnings that "recklessly and rapidly" withdrawing government support would "risk driving our economy back into recession”. The Chancellor also argued in his Budget statement that “to start cutting now risks derailing the recovery.

“However, that is exactly what the Chancellor has done.

“Chart 2.5 of the Red Book clearly shows that the UK’s fiscal stance for 2010-11 is negative. Discretionary fiscal policy will act to tighten public spending and taxation relative to 2009-10. To quote one City analyst: “despite all the warnings about [the] withdrawal [of] support too early, the fiscal stance is being tightened in 2010/11 by 1.1% of GDP.

“This is the wrong approach. Among the G20, only Argentina and the UK stand apart in choosing to provide no further fiscal stimulus.

“This might have been justifiable if the rate of recovery had exceeded the Chancellor’s predictions.

“But since the crisis peaked in Autumn 2008, the Chancellor has delivered two Pre-Budget Reports and now two Budget statements. And each revision has seen his forecasts for economic growth been revised downwards.

“Just 18 months ago, the Treasury was forecasting a fall in output of between 1¼ to 1¾% in 2009 and growth of between 1½ and 2% in 2010. Now it forecasts a fall in output of 5% in 2009 with growth in 2010 of only 1 to 1½%.

“Mr Speaker, the evidence is clear – to support recovery and ensure sustainability in the public finances, we must invest in our economy.

“This is why we called for a further, targeted but cost effective stimulus, focusing on bringing forward a proportion of our capital budget into 2010/11.

“Compared to the package the Chancellor delivered, this action would have supported some 4,000 more jobs in Scotland – the majority in the construction sector.

“The benefits are not just limited to the short term. Such investment, be it in housing, schools, transport or in Scotland’s vast renewables potential, create a positive legacy for long-term growth. Faster growth, makes lowering the burden of debt so much easier.

“Put simply, you can’t cut your way out of a recession, but you can cut your way into a double‑dip recession. Yet despite this is precisely what the Chancellor proposes.

“We are already living with the experience of a 1.3% real cut to the Scottish Budget.

“And despite repeated requests, the Chancellor has failed to commit to no further reductions in 2010-11 post General Election.

“And despite the UK Government’s rhetoric about its ambitious efficiency programme, they have taken two years to achieve savings worth 3.1% of their budget – a target we achieved in just 12 months.

“A more radical plan is needed. Fundamental choices about what is vital and what is simply no longer affordable. Not the 50% cut in public sector net investment over the next three years but – cuts in those things that matter least – the £100,000 million replacement for Trident, the £5,000 million for the remnants of the ID card scheme – or indeed the near £10 million cost of the Scotland Office or the £100 million for the ‘Other Place’. We can cut these and instead protect local services.

“In these difficult times, for the economy and those delivering vital public services, we need - as a minimum - some degree of certainty of plans and purpose for this year.

“Without such clarity, we are left to speculate about his future intentions and what lies hidden within the detail of the Red Book. But one thing is certain, it is not as the Prime Minister has argued about investing in public services. The detail, scrutinised by the IFS, shows planned annual real terms reductions of over 3% in departmental budgets through to 2014/15. Cuts which will reverse almost all of the increase in public spending since the current Government came to power.

“Analysis suggests that in just 12 months time the Scottish Government budget could be cut by £1.5 billion under these projections.

“Little wonder the Chancellor has now admitted to planned cuts that are ‘deeper and tougher’ than those under Mrs Thatcher. In Scotland we remember all too well the deep and damaging impact on our communities of those Thatcher cuts and so today, to have a Labour Chancellor, a Labour Chancellor, promising cuts that are “deeper and tougher” beggars belief. And of course the Shadow Chancellor agrees – for Scotland Labour cuts and Tory cuts are now effectively one and the same thing. They will be savage, if I can borrow the description used by the Liberal Democrats for their own budget plans.

“Certainly, the Chancellor will need to face up to some tough public spending decisions.

“But in making those decisions, he must prioritise recovery, he must protect vital public services, such as health and education, and he must scrap vanity projects like the replacement for Trident.”

Concluding his remarks, the Banff & Buchan MP ended his last speech to the House of Commons by saying:

"I have enjoyed and relished this Chamber for all of my 23 years here. The rest of the Palace of Westminster I can take or leave, but this is a fantastic Chamber and a fantastic place for debate to be joined. It has a great atmosphere and at its best it is second only to the Scottish parliamentary Chamber, which looks better on telly. None the less, this is a fine place to have enjoyed debating. I have met and clashed with a number of formidable debaters and speakers from both sides of the House, and I have enjoyed every minute of doing that. I wish well the individual Members—if not necessarily their parties.

"However, I should say that what has happened over the past 23 years has strengthened my absolute conviction that the case for our having full determination over Scotland’s finances and resources has never been more urgent and has never required to be better made than it is now."



SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and Euro-MP and Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith got the inside information on a wind turbine when they were shown the inner workings of the turbine at Bruxiehill, near St Fergus, yesterday.
The turbine was erected only a few months ago by Peter Robertson and his wife Dr Elaine Booth of Ednie Farms and is already making a significant contribution to the national grid.

Euro-MP Alyn Smith was touring farming-related businesses with SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford and earlier visited Turriff Fuels and Harbro Farm Sales, also in Turriff.

Commenting afterwards, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

"Wind turbines have a valuable role to play in our energy mix as we move towards a low carbon economy and tackling climate change. Generating energy from wind can help our farmers diversify their businesses, making them more sustainable.

"In some parts of Banff & Buchan, wind energy is also providing a valuable income stream that is being used to invest in community facilities and amenities that bring added benefits to our villages and towns."



SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford was joined by SNP Euro-MP Alyn Smith and local councillor Sandy Duncan on a visit to local businesses in Turriff yesterday (Monday).

Mr Smith, who is a member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, was invited by Dr Whiteford to visit businesses in the local area which are of vital importance to the rural economy. Among the businesses visited were Turriff Fuels and Harbro Farm Services.

Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith commented:

"It was good to meet Mr Cassie and hear about his successful local business.

"It was also very useful to hear from his perspective as a fuel supplier of the effect of fuel prices on his customers. The volatility in the wholesale price of fuel charged to distributors, coupled with the huge taxes imposed on fuels hit people in rural areas disproportionately hard as they often have no alternative source of heating, being as they are beyond the gas mains."

Speaking after the visit, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

"Rising fuel prices have put households under intense pressure this winter. The cost of keeping warm in severe weather has never been higher, especially for older people and those in rural areas.

"Those for whom a car is a necessity are also being punished by the UK Government's fuel tax increases. Even though we live in an oil-rich nation, we have the highest taxed fuel in Europe, with up to three-quarters of what we pay at the pump going straight to the UK Treasury. This is a stealth tax on people in rural Scotland, who have greater distances to travel, and for whom cars are a necessity not a luxury.

"The SNP has proposed a Fuel Duty Regulator, a simple mechanism that would ensure that as oil prices rise, the tax rate falls. Introducing a Fuel Duty Regulator would help reduce this unfair tax burden on our local businesses and households."

Afterwards, Alyn Smith accompanied Dr Whiteford and local councillor Sandy Duncan on a visit to Harbro Farm Sales in Turriff to hear about current farming issues from the company's point of view.



Friday, 26 March 2010

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP paid a visit to Peterhead Fishmarket earlier today with SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

Peterhead Port Authority Chief Executive John Wallace gave Mr Lochhead and Dr Whiteford a tour of the facility and afterwards briefed them on current developments, including the port authority's ambitious Smith Embankment project.

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Just as the fishing industry is so important to Scotland’s economy, so the harbour is to Peterhead.

“I was pleased to hear that Peterhead Port Authority is doing so well at the moment and I congratulate John Wallace and his team on their vision for the future and commitment to ensure that Peterhead remains the country’s pre-eminent fishing port.”

Neighbouring Moray MSP and Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"I was delighted to be visiting Peterhead Port today with the SNP's candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

"Today's visit was a great opportunity to catch up with the harbour management team, fishermen, fish-sellers and buyers.

"It was good to see strong activity at the Port, particularly with the ongoing multi-million pound Smith Embankment development.

"With the Port continuing to expand the future is very bright for Peterhead at the heart of the Scottish fishing industry and growing commercial use.

"Eilidh is an extremely able, knowledgeable and enthusiastic candidate for this constituency in the coming elections and that was evident from the positive response of the folk at the Port who met with us today."



Thursday, 25 March 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and local MSP Stewart Stevenson have welcomed the Scottish Government’s universal health checks for people aged between 40 and 74.

The new ‘heart MOT’ will be piloted during 2011 with the new web-based self assessment ‘Life Begins at 40’ service to be rolled out across Scotland.

Through the Life Begins at 40 programme, individuals in the pilot area of the Grampian region will be asked to complete an online self assessment of their lifestyle when they turn 40. Those thought to be at risk of heart disease will be targeted and invited to attend a check by their GP. For people who do not have internet access a telephone service will also be available.

Commenting, SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford said:

“By doing everything the health services can to identify those at risk from heart disease, diabetes and stroke as early as possible the Scottish Government is once again showing their commitment to creating a healthier Scotland.

“The new 'heart MOT' health check will also prove vital for researching ill-health prevention."

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The checks are for all individuals aged 40-74 - not just those believed to be at risk - and will mean that professionals will be able to test the success of a general heart check-up for the first time.

“The Scottish Government will also continue to support health check programmes that target those most at risk. The Keep Well programme, which currently provides health checks in areas where there is greater health risk, will now be extended to cover all of Scotland's poorest communities from 2012."



SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has expressed her anger at the UK Government’s failure to reach an agreement on devolving animal health budgets by April 1 2010, in line with the Scudamore Review recommendations.

The current situation sees the Scottish Government hold responsibility for policies relating to animal health but not have control over the budgets associated with those policies. The Scottish Government had been working with Defra round the clock and had believed that significant progress had been made. However, Defra have now indicated that the deadline for this will not be met.

Commenting Dr Whiteford said:

“The situation where the Scottish Government controls policy for animal health but not the level of finances devoted to such policies is as ludicrous as it is unacceptable. The Scottish livestock sector relies on its outstanding reputation for the quality of what it produces, and it is entirely right that control over such budgets should be devolved to the Scottish Government.

“With greater willingness on the part of Defra to engage with this issue, the entire thing could have been settled well in advance of the new financial year. As it is, the foot dragging of the UK Government has set progress back by a year and raises some serious questions about what they are playing at.

“If the UK Government cuts the budget for animal health before it is devolved, the amount that the Scottish Government eventually receives to protect the health of Scottish livestock could be a fraction of what is needed. The UK Government must come clean over their intentions and promise that they will not cut the animal health budget before it is devolved.

“The implications of a reduced budget for protecting the health of Scottish livestock could be catastrophic for the sector. Farmers will be understandably alarmed, but I know that the SNP Government will fight hard to gain the assurances they need and protect the Scottish livestock sector.”



Wednesday, 24 March 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has greeted the results of the local school elections in Banff & Buchan as an opportunity to remind young people of the importance of their vote and to make sure they are registered.

Aberdeenshire Council held school elections in 6 secondary schools across Aberdeenshire. At Fraserburgh Academy, SNP candidate Scot West triumphed, while at Turriff Academy – the only other school in Banff & Buchan to take part in the election – the SNP also won with candidate Keenan Nicol triumphing. Overall, the SNP candidates won 4 of the 7 contests across Aberdeenshire.

Commenting on the results, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"School elections are fantastic fun for those involved and they also get across the serious message that voting is very important. This was graphically illustrated at one of the schools in Banchory where only one vote separated first place and second place.

"I offer my warm congratulations to Keenan and Scot on their election success. Anyone aged 18 or over on polling day will be eligible to vote as long as their name appears on the electoral register and I would encourage people to check that they are indeed registered to vote. If any assistance is required then my campaign team will be happy to help or advise on voter registration on 01779 490400."



Monday, 22 March 2010


With petrol prices at a record high of £1.20 a litre, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has called on other parties to back the SNP’s proposal for a fuel duty regulator which would stabilise fuel prices.

The SNP Group at Westminster have announced they will be introducing an amendment to the coming Budget Bill for the introduction of a fuel duty regulator and challenged opposition parties to support its introduction following their failure in previous budgets.

Commenting, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Sky high fuel taxes imposed by Gordon Brown, and latterly Alistair Darling, are indiscriminate and effectively a poll tax on wheels.

“The AA may be warning that it will become commonplace for petrol to hit £1.20 a litre in the next few weeks but in many areas of Scotland this is already the reality and in Banff & Buchan the price has already reached that.

“It’s not just hauliers who suffer but ordinary families struggling to run a car for normal use. It now costs the best part of £100 to fill up a Ford Mondeo.

“The effects of sky high fuel taxes also impact on prices in the stores with costs rising to deliver food and other products to the shops.

“We all know that Labour has admitted that they will yet again use fuel tax to hammer household motorists and hauliers to pay for their bank bail out and these latest figures from the AA confirm that Labour and Gordon Brown have learnt nothing from their years in government.

“However they can make amends by supporting the SNP’s call for a fuel duty regulator. Despite this measure having extensive industry support Labour voted against this fair fuel measure and the Tories and Lib Dems failed to support it. The coming Budget gives them an opportunity to rectify that failure.”

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

“An oil rich nation like Scotland should be reaping the benefits from our offshore resources – not watching as North Sea revenues flow into a black hole in Treasury coffers while the Scottish budget is slashed.”



Monday, 15 March 2010

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP will visit a Banffshire farm next week at the invitation of SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

Mr Lochhead and Dr Whiteford will visit Meikle Toux, Cornhill, Banffshire AB45 2XB on Monday 15 March at 9.45am.

Meikle Toux is the home of former North-east NFUS Chairman Cameron Ewen who has kindly agreed to host the visit. Mr Ewen will brief the Cabinet Secretary on current issues affecting Banffshire farmers.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I'm delighted that Richard Lochhead has accepted my invitation to visit a local farm and hear at first hand from Cameron Ewen of the issues and challenges facing a typical Banffshire farm.

"The SNP recognises the importance of farming to the wider Scottish economy as has been shown by the actions taken since coming into Government in 2007 and I am sure that this visit will be very useful in underlining that commitment and shows that with SNP representation, local farmers have a direct line to the heart of Government."



Friday, 12 March 2010

First Minister Alex Salmond along with SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford will present Fraserburgh woman Mrs Libbie Sutherland with flowers and 100th Birthday card.

Mr Salmond and Dr Whiteford will visit Faithlie Home, 20 Lochpots Road , Fraserburgh AB43 9NH on Monday 15 March at 1.00pm.



SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and local MSP Stewart Stevenson paid a visit to Peterhead-based North-east Fishermen's Training Association (NEFTA) this week to discuss current training issues.

NEFTA – which is based above the old fishmarket - is run by fishermen for the benefit of fishermen and fishing communities and has responsibility for facilitating multi-disciplinary training for fishermen working on a diverse and modern fleet of vessels. NEFTA strives to deliver high quality training to the fleet at a reasonable cost; tapping into government/EU funding via SeaFish to run free courses wherever possible.

Speaking in Peterhead after her visit, SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I enjoyed meeting Jim and his team, and learning about the safety training NEFTA offers fishermen across the North-east.

"Fishing remains a dangerous occupation, and it's vital that those going to sea are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to stay as safe as possible."

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

"NEFTA carry out extremely valuable work and it was useful to hear more about this at first hand.

"Fishing is a vital employer in our coastal communities and the provision of locally-accessible training is very important in retaining employment locally."



Thursday, 11 March 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has praised the Boyndie Centre for the opportunities it provides to people with special needs and the service it provides to the whole community.

The SNP candidate was speaking after touring the facility and meeting with Boyndie Trust General Manager Duncan Leece. Dr Whiteford also met with staff and volunteers at the popular Banffshire facility.

Speaking after her visit to the Boyndie Centre, Dr Whiteford said:

"The Boyndie Trust's Old School Visitor Centre is one of Banffshire's most popular visitor attractions, and has been a real success story in terms of the opportunities it offers people with special needs, and the service it provides in the community. There's no doubt the restaurant is one of the best places to sample local produce, and is excellent value.

"I also had a chance to see what happens behind the scenes, and enjoyed meeting staff and volunteers. When I visited, the men in the wood workshop were busy making and restoring garden furniture, ready for demand growing now that Spring is around the corner. We need to learn from successful social enterprises like Boyndie, so that the benefits can be replicated in other places."



Tuesday, 9 March 2010


SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has today (Tuesday) welcomed support from various European governments for the principle of EU nations retaining historical fishing rights according to traditional practices.

The governments of Germany, Denmark and Estonia have all given backing to the principle of "relative stability" whereby fishing opportunities are allocated to states according to historical catches. Additionally, from outwith the EU the Norwegian government has backed the principle.

The international support is in contrast to the position of both the UK Government and the Tory Party who have in recent weeks called for the scrapping of historical rights, which has been strongly criticised by local SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

Ian Hudghton commented:

"The SNP believes that powers over fisheries should be returned to Europe's fishing nations. Coastal communities around Europe have depended on their traditional fishing waters for generations - and those historical benefits must be retained.

"Fortunately the Scottish government are not alone in seeking to protect the principle of relative stability. Whilst both Labour and the Tories are preparing to sell Scotland's fishermen out once again, an alliance of northern nations is emerging intent on protecting their fishing heritage.

"The SNP have long been the champions of Scotland's fishing communities. As the process of European fisheries reform gets under way, the SNP are pledged to defend Scotland's historical fishing rights in Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"The next couple of years are going to be vital for the Scottish fishing industry. The reform of European fisheries policy offers us an opportunity to bring powers back to where they belong - with the individual fishing nations.

"It's important that Scotland has allies in other European countries who are as determined to protect each nation's historical rights. Both the Tories and Labour have indicated that they want an abolition of relative stability - but the SNP fully intends to fight for our coastal communities.

"Scotland needs champions who are prepared to stand up for our fishing industry. Strong SNP voices will ensure that Scotland's voice is heard - and our traditional rights are safeguarded."



Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & the Environment Richard Lochhead will be visiting Banff on Monday to hear the views of local businesses and take questions on government policy.

Mr Lochhead is visiting at the invitation of SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and will be speaking at a Business Breakfast being held under the auspices of Banffshire Business at the Fife Lodge Hotel, Banff at 7.00am on Monday, 15th March.

Welcoming Mr Lochhead's visit to Banff, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I am delighted that we have been able to secure the attendance of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for two of Banffshire's most important sectors – fishing and farming.

"The SNP Government has been extremely pro-active in helping small businesses through the Small Business Bonus Scheme which has seen business rates removed or greatly reduced for thousands of North-east businesses. But, in the teeth of a UK recession, it is important that local businesses take the opportunity to tell those at the heart of Government of their experiences and their view of how Holyrood can help shelter the local economy from the 'Downing Street Downturn'."

John Cox of Banffshire Business added:

"Banffshire Business has organised two or three of these business breakfasts which have all been highly successful. They provide some excellent networking opportunities for local businesses in the absence of Banffshire having its own chamber of commerce and I very much look forward to Monday's event."

To register your attendance please telephone 01261 812436 or e-mail



Friday, 5 March 2010

Latest figures from the AA revealing that drivers have endured recent petrol tax increases up to five times higher than in other European countries, show why the SNP is right to propose a fuel duty regulator says SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

According to the AA the burden of fuel duty and VAT on a tank of petrol in the UK has gone up by 11.46% since the Pre-Budget Report at the end of November 2008. This compares to just 2.23% in Austria and an average increase for 10 mainstream European countries, including France, Germany, and The Netherlands, of 5.07%.

Commenting Eilidh Whiteford said:

“We all know that Labour has admitted that they will yet again use fuel tax to hammer household motorists and hauliers to pay for their bank bail out.

“However these latest figures from the AA confirm that Labour and Gordon Brown have learnt nothing from their years in government.

“Sky high fuel taxes imposed by Gordon Brown, and latterly Alistair Darling, are indiscriminate and effectively a poll tax on wheels. In rural areas like Banff & Buchan where many people rely on their cars this is particularly unacceptable.

“And it’s not just hauliers who suffer but ordinary families struggling to run a car for normal use. The effects of sky high fuel taxes also impact on prices in the stores with costs rising to deliver food and other products to the shops.

“It shows how much Labour has become out of touch that they should target ordinary people in this way to pay for the bail out of a banking system failure they helped create.

“I can categorically say that SNP MPs will continue to oppose Labour's arbitrary fuel tax hikes and propose the introduction of a fuel duty regulator at the Budget to ensure price stability as well as lower fuel taxes for remote areas.

“An oil rich nation like Scotland should be reaping the benefits from our offshore resources – not watching as North Sea revenues flow into a black hole in the London Treasury coffers while the Scottish budget is slashed.”



Wednesday, 3 March 2010

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the positive response from Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead for support for those of Scotland's farmers who have been struggling to cope with the effects of collapsed farm buildings.

Dr Whiteford and Highlands MSP Dave Thompson wrote to Mr Lochhead recently urging support for those affected by the recent severe weather which had led to buildings collapsing under the weight of snow. Mr Lochhead has now responded positively with details of a support scheme.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Scotland’s farmers did an excellent job to carry on through the bad weather and in many cases it was farmers efforts that saw remote roads and paths cleared or cars pulled out of the snow.

“SNP MPs and MSPs have always championed the needs of Scotland’s farmers and as they face cost pressures after the difficult winter we will continue to do so.

"I am therefore delighted that my colleague Richard Lochhead has moved so quickly to set up this support scheme which will assist those farmers who have been most badly affected by the recent severe weather and have lost buildings as a result.

"Once again, we see it is the SNP in Government which are responding to the needs of our rural communities and the farming industry."


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