Eilidh Whiteford


Whiteford Congratulates Local Couple on Olympic Torch Selection

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the news that Peterhead residents Stephen and Roselyn Bruce have been selected by the Olympic Torch Bearer Committee to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay which begins later this month.

The Olympic Flame arrived in Cornwall from Greece on 18 May, and the next day set out on a 70-day relay around the UK. During the relay, the Torch will be carried by some 8,000 specially selected torchbearers.

Stephen and Roselyn Bruce of Peterhead have been selected to carry the Torch through Drumoak on Monday 11thJune.

Welcoming the local couple’s selection, Dr Whiteford commented:

“I am genuinely delighted that Stephen and Roselyn have been selected for this honour. Stephen and Roselyn’s commitment to encouraging local people to participate in sports and lead a healthy lifestyle has been an inspiration.

Stephen has been instrumental in getting a Peterhead branch of JogScotland off the ground and the Bruces’ have an infectious enthusiasm for their community, being involved in a whole range of activities and events here in Peterhead. The 4 nominations to be Torchbearers that they received – including one from myself – is testament to just how highly they are regarded in their community and their selection as Torchbearers is a fitting recognition of all that they have achieved.”

Stephen Bruce added:

Roselyn & Stephen Bruce with Stewart Stevenson MSP
“When Roselyn and I carry the Olympic torch in Drumoak, we won’t just be carrying them for ourselves –but will be representing all our family and friends and for all those people whose dedication to getting our country more active often goes unrecognised.”

In December of last year, Dr Whiteford exposed a gaffe by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, when he wrote to MPs to inform them that the Olympic Torch would pass within 10 miles of 95% of the population of the UK. This claim has since been changed by the Department for Culture & Sport. The selected route for the Torch Relay spans from Inverness to Aberdeen, bypassing the Banff and Buchan constituency in its entirety. She added:

“It is disappointing that local folk will not be able to watch the Olympic Torch pass through their own town, but I am nevertheless delighted that Buchan will still be represented in this historic event in the form of Stephen and Roselyn Bruce.”


Whiteford Impressed on Visit to Peterhead Academy

Monday, 28 May 2012

Enthusiastic and friendly Peterhead Academy pupils left a big impression on Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford when she visited the school today (Monday).

The SNP MP was visiting the school to discuss how the Academy was moving forward under Acting Headteacher Tim McKay.

Dr Whiteford also met with members of the Academy’s Pupil Council and talked about how they were helping lead change and improvement in the school.

(l to r) Jordan Kemlo, Ian Buchan, Alexander Hawethorne,
Ross Strachan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, Caitlain Willox,
Tim McKay, Caitlin Bruce and Emma Fraser
Commenting following her visit, Dr Whiteford said:
“It was a real pleasure to meet students from the Pupil Council, whose pride in their school and enthusiasm for making it all that it can be is both commendable and infectious. I wish them all the best in the good work that they are doing.”

“I was pleased for the opportunity to discuss how the school is doing with the Acting Headteacher, Tim McKay. I was very encouraged by the culture of improvement at the school and I hope that it can continue to go from strength to strength in the months and years ahead.”


Local MP Meets with Buchan NFU Members

Friday, 25 May 2012

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford attended last night's meeting of the Buchan Branch of the National Farmers' Union Scotland held in Lonmay.

The SNP MP was invited along by the Buchan Branch to speak on current agricultural issues and to take part in a question-and-answer session.

Speaking after the meeting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I was very pleased to be invited along to speak to the branch members and we had a wide-ranging question and answer session afterwards covering subjects as diverse as wind turbines to transport issues.

"I meet regularly with local NFUS members and officials at the summer shows and other times but visiting the branches is an important way of keeping in touch with the industry's grassroots."


Petrol Tax Heading for 60% of Price in UK

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford is calling for the scrapping of the August 3 pence rise in fuel duty and has re-iterated the SNP’s demand for a fuel duty regulator after the latest figures released by the European Commission showed UK fuel tax was approaching 60 per cent of the cost of fuel.

The proportion of tax levied on fuel by the UK Treasury is the highest amongst all EU members at 58.6% for unleaded and 56.8% for diesel.

The local SNP MP has long campaigned on the issue, along with colleagues in the SNP’s group of MPs in Westminster. Dr Whiteford has warned that soaring fuel prices are holding back economic recovery and called on the UK Government to recognise how its road fuel taxes are impacting on the transport industry, including bus services and fares, as well as hauliers and households.

Speaking from Westminster, Eilidh Whiteford MP said

“North-east firms and families are paying a higher and higher price for the UK Government’s fuel taxation policy. The soaring levels of fuel duty are simply highway robbery for regions like Banff & Buchan, where road journeys are a necessity and by absolutely no stretch a luxury.

“In July 2008, George Osborne launched plans for a ‘Fair Fuel Stabiliser’, describing it as a ‘common sense plan’: an idea that is extremely similar to the SNP’s Fuel Duty Regulator proposal, which we have long campaigned for.

“We are just shy of four years since the Chancellor set out his proposal but instead of following common sense they have plans for a further 3 pence rise when we already face the highest fuel taxes in Europe.

“Excuses that it would be too difficult to introduce a regulatory mechanism are wearing thin. There is a momentum building across Europe for action on fuel. Germany has now become the third European country after Austria and Denmark to sign up to price regulation.

“The SNP has led and continues to lead calls at Westminster for the 3p rise in duty to be scrapped. We will also be tabling amendments to the budget to bring in a fuel duty regulator.

“If Westminster will not act, the powers should be passed to the Scottish Parliament so that it can. If Scotland had control of fuel duty, the SNP government would introduce a fuel duty regulator to lower prices now.”


Labour Leader Lauds "More Equal" Small Independent Countries

Monday, 21 May 2012


SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has welcomed the admission from Labour Leader Ed Miliband that the small independent nations of Scandinavia are more equal societies.

In a speech to the Sutton Trust today (Monday), Mr Miliband said:

“When you look around the world and compare the rates of social mobility, there is a striking fact. If you are born poor in a more equal society like Finland, Norway or Denmark then you have a better chance of moving into a good job than if you are born poor in the United States. If you want the American dream – go to Finland.”

This stands at odds with years of criticism of Scandinavia from senior Labour figures.

The Sutton Trust themselves sponsored research published in 2005 showing that – under Labour’s watch – social mobility in the UK declined to a level comparable to that of the US. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian countries continued to have the highest rates.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“This is a very welcome admission from Ed Miliband that we should aspire to have the social mobility of countries like Finland, Norway or Denmark.

“It stands in stark contrast to years of using Scandinavia to attack and undermine Scottish independence.

“Mr Miliband and his Labour colleagues have to explain why they think Scotland is somehow uniquely incapable of becoming as equal a society as our neighbours in Scandinavia.

“Ironically, the Sutton Trust themselves showed that – under Labour’s watch - social mobility in the UK declined to one of the worst levels in advanced Western democracies.

“So it’s a bit rich for Ed Miliband to criticise the unequal society his party created.

"An independent Scotland can be a beacon for progressive opinion south of the border and further afield - addressing challenges in ways which reflect the universal values of fairness - and are capable of being considered, adapted and implemented according to the specific circumstances and wishes within the other jurisdictions of these islands, and beyond."


SNP Reveals Drastic Cuts to Crisis Loans Cash

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The UK Government funding provided for people in crisis or emergency situations will be slashed by more than a third when the social fund is devolved next year.

Parliamentary questions reveal over £38 million was awarded to people in need of community care grants and crisis loans in Scotland in 2010/11. Yet only £25 million in funding has been earmarked for the Scottish Government for the same purpose when responsibility is devolved next year – a drop of £13 million or 34%.

The response to questions from SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP also confirmed that the UK government has already applied tighter restrictions to availability of crisis loans prior to the devolving of the funds. Funds are no longer available for items such as beds and cookers, and awards are restricted to three in a 12 month rolling period.

Dr Whiteford said

“At a time of recession when many are struggling with the basic cost of living , such draconian cuts to funding for crisis loans is unbelievable, even from the Tories.

“By their nature crisis loans are a last resort, and it is appalling that the Tory Government are cutting this safety net so drastically. The only winners from this will be loan sharks and high interest lenders.

“They have already reduced the availability of crisis loans for basic items like cookers or beds, affecting thousands of people in poverty across Scotland.

“The SNP supports a fairer, simpler to use welfare system that protects those in need of support and helps people back into work. There is a need for reform, but these draconian cuts undermine the basic principles of the system.

“It’s crucial that genuinely vulnerable individuals must not become an easy target for Conservative and Lib-Dem cuts.

“With further powers over the economy and over the welfare system we could put a stop to the Tories’ dismal decade of cuts, invest in growing our economy, properly support our most vulnerable people and build a better Scotland.“

Text of parliamentary questions and responses:

Crisis Loans

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes to the eligibility criteria for crisis loans there have been since 2010. [107026]

Steve Webb: Since 2010 the basic eligibility criteria for crisis loans has not changed. A person satisfies the conditions if they are aged 16 or over and are without sufficient resources to meet the immediate short-term needs of themselves or their family.

Changes have however been made that affect the general conditions for an award. These are as follows:

From 4 April 2011 awards for general living expenses, emergency travel expenses and emergency fuel meter credit were restricted to three awards in a rolling 12-month period. This rule does not apply to living expenses given for alignment to benefit purposes, or to rent in advance.

From 4 April 2011 Crisis Loan awards for household items such as cookers and beds can only be made as a consequence of a disaster such as a fire or flood.
(HC Deb, 15 May 2012, c99W)

Social Fund: Scotland

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on (a) community care grants, (b) budgeting loans, (c) crisis loans items, (d) crisis loan living expenses and (e) crisis loan alignments in each region of Scotland in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11; and how much he expects to allocate for each purpose in each region of Scotland in (A) 2012-13 and (B) 2013-14. [107024]

Steve Webb: The following tables provide details of the amount spent in each region of Scotland in 2009-10 and 2010-11 on each element of the discretionary Social Fund.

The current scheme will continue for 2012-13. However, under the localisation agenda approximately £25 million will be allocated to Scotland in 2013-14 for the local provision that will replace community care grants and non-alignment crisis loans.


MP Commends Peterhead Community Spirit

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Whiteford Attends Daniel Gallagher Event

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has commended the organisers of the fundraising event in aid of Daniel Gallagher, the injured 22 year-old Peterhead rugby player who lost both his legs after a road accident on the Isle of Arran recently.

The MP dropped in on the event at Peterhead Lido along with local councillors Stephen Smith and Anne Allan.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“Daniel’s life and those of his family will be changed forever as a result of this tragic accident, but I hope that they will draw comfort from the tremendous display of support witnessed at the Lido as hundreds of people from the local community come together in a fantastic display of community spirit.

“The organisers of the various events at the Lido are to be commended and this was a show of the real community spirit which exists in Peterhead.”


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