Eilidh Whiteford


Whiteford Welcomes Signing of Memorandum of Understanding at Fraserburgh Harbour

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed a deal for Fraserburgh Harbour which could potentially lead to the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners on Friday, which will allow the harbour to compete as a support site for the 186-turbine project in the Moray Firth.

MORL received planning permission from the Scottish Government in March to construct the Telford, Stevenson and MacColl windfarms 13.5 miles off the North-east coast. The firm anticipates that the project will generate around 1,116 megawatts of electricity – contributing significantly towards the Scottish Government’s ambition to generate the equivalent of Scotland’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“I was delighted to witness the signing of the Memorandum at Fraserburgh Harbour today. The Harbour is a first class facility that is extremely well-placed to service renewable developments off the coast of the North of Scotland. The town more widely is positioning itself well to benefit from the renewables revolution – with the local college heavily involved in equipping future generations with the engineering skills that will be required by companies like EDRP.

“The signing of the Memorandum today acknowledges Fraserburgh’s competitiveness and the expertise that is harboured here. I hope that on this basis, the two parties can now explore the potential of Fraserburgh Harbour as a base for first-class servicing of offshore renewable developments.”


First Minister Opens 167th New Deer Show

Monday, 21 July 2014


East Aberdeenshire MSP and First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened the annual New Deer Show at the weekend and announced £17,500 Scottish Government funding to support the staging of the event in the Year of Homecoming.

The event was also attended by Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford, who praised the organisers on another excellent show, despite some inclement weather on the Saturday morning.

During his opening remarks, Mr Salmond went on to praise rural events such as the New Deer Show for the role they play in enriching community spirit and supporting local businesses, such as the regional food and drink sector.

Alex Salmond said:

“The New Deer Show is a much loved and eagerly anticipated local event that the whole wider community loyally turn up for year in year out and thoroughly enjoy. The competition element – be it best of class, shearing, or the young farmers’ programme – not only encourages healthy rivalry but more importantly, a sense of community solidarity.

“Rural events the length and breadth of Scotland are the jewel in the Year of Homecoming crown, the unsung heroes promoting our heritage and traditional way of life. They also support many regional business who come along to sell their produce, such as our exceptional local food and drink entrepreneurs. That is why the Scottish Government has granted New Deer £17,500 to help stage the 2014 event.

“More specifically, as part of the Homecoming 2014 programme, we have also allocated up to £250,000 to enhance the food and drink element at a number of events across the year. Our magnificent natural larder continues to attract huge interest abroad and helps to market Scotland to the world as a Land of Food and Drink - an important ingredient as we encourage people to celebrate their Scottish heritage during Homecoming.

"Our local communities play an integral part in the food and drink industry and it’s great to be able to support them by bringing events to their areas. This is especially important as we look ahead to our 2015 Year of Food & Drink when we will build on the activity taking place during the Homecoming Year to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland’s quality produce to our people and visitors alike.”

Local MP Eilidh Whiteford said:

“New Deer Show is a great local event with a long tradition. It is one of the highlights of the North-east calendar and attracts a huge crowd.

“I’m delighted for Drew Wilson and his committee that year’s show was a great success once again and that a short cloudburst on the Saturday morning didn’t last long and certainly didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.”

Drew Wilson, New Deer Show President, said:

"2014 is the 167th year of the New Deer Show and we have the very best of the region on display here this weekend. Aberdeenshire produces some of the finest livestock in Scotland that is enjoyed both locally and internationally - from farm to fork.

"There is huge community support for the New Deer Show and the funding from the Scottish Government will help us make it even better.

"We're not even finished with the 2014 programme yet but we're already thinking ahead to 2015 and the Year of Food and Drink - and where better to showcase Aberdeenshire's excellent produce than right here at the New Deer Show."

As well as showcasing the best of Scottish produce at the events, the £250,000 fund is providing event organisers with expert support in developing their food and drink offering through a series of one-to-one sessions and workshops, delivered by food and drink consultants, Experiencing Scotland.

These workshops, took place in Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh, will ensure organisers benefit from expert advice and ideas for including fresh, local and seasonal produce from quality Scottish suppliers.


Parliamentarians Secure Review of Demand for Ambulance Services


Following on a recent report that ambulances were failing to meet call-out target times in North Aberdeenshire, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP met last week with regional Scottish Ambulance Service chiefs.

The parliamentarians were told that the Service is currently re-examining its practices and processes as part of an already-ongoing national review - but secured assurances that more immediate action will be taken to address the shortcomings in North Aberdeenshire identified in the report.

The parliamentarians heard that an additional driver is being recruited in Peterhead and shift patterns adjusted to extend coverage, which should relieve pressure on neighbouring stations.

An undertaking was also secured by the parliamentarians that the Scottish Ambulance Service will undertake a detailed review of the demand profile in North Aberdeenshire forthwith, to assess whether any additional resources might also be required to ensure appropriate standards of performance are met.

Commenting on the meeting, Banff & Buchan MP, Eilidh Whiteford, said:

“Having studied the performance statistics and met with various constituents and community representatives over recent weeks, I very much share the concerns that have been expressed. I am therefore very pleased that the Scottish Ambulance Service is now taking action to ensure that they are addressed effectively.

“We all very much value the work done by our hard working ambulance crews, in what can be extremely demanding circumstances. I am therefore absolutely committed to ensuring that they have the support and resources required to provide the quality of service which patients have the right to expect.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP added:

“The population of North Aberdeenshire is growing due to our economic success, but that brings with it challenges for the Ambulance Service which is seeing demand increase by 3% year on year.

“We need to get this right, and I welcome the commitment we received from the Scottish Ambulance Service for a full review of the demand profile in North Aberdeenshire. I also welcome the steps which they are already taking to increase provision in the area.”

A further meeting is to be convened in twelve weeks’ time to discuss the content of that report, and identify what substantive measures need be taken to ensure that the response time targets are appropriate, and met with on a consistent basis.


Whiteford Praises Local Business Following 'Best Bar None' Award

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has congratulated a Fraserburgh business, after it received a prestigious award for innovation.
The local MP visited Cheers Café and Bar in Fraserburgh after the venue was awarded a ‘Best Bar None’ Award for Innovation. The latest award comes in the wake of more than a dozen similar awards and nominations in recent years, which have established the café and bar as a major attraction in the town.

Owner Dennis Forsyth welcomed Dr Whiteford, along with Troup councillor Hamish Partridge, to learn more about his business and its success. The visit was also an opportunity for Dr Whiteford to meet staff, and offer her congratulations on the venue’s recent award.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“It was an absolute pleasure to visit Cheers, and to see for myself the good work that Dennis and his staff are undertaking on the site. The astonishing number of awards and nominations Cheers has received from national bodies indicates the quality of the service being offered, and the business is a credit to Fraserburgh and the surrounding area.

“I look forward to congratulating Dennis on further awards in future.”


Appointment of More Women to UK Cabinet "Does not Compensate for Cuts"

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Following David Cameron's attempts to bring more women into the UK Cabinet, the SNP is today highlighting the fact that women bear the brunt of UK Government welfare cuts.

Evidence of Westminster's failure on welfare continues to mount up, with UK Government's own report - sneaked out during yesterday's reshuffle - admitting that Bedroom Tax has failed with only 4.5 per cent of those impacted moving to a smaller property and 59 per cent in arrears.

Research from the House of Commons Library has shown that out of a total of £4bn of welfare cuts coming to Scotland in 2014/15 – 69 per cent of the impact will fall on women.

As well as this, a report published this week highlights young women are likely to be among the hardest hit by Tory cuts. The report from the IFS and Joseph Rowntree Foundation finds young adults are bearing the brunt of the recession - and that 58 per cent of these young people are women, with a high percentage in paid employment. Many of these women will also have dependent children.

And despite Tory claims that the reshuffle is a step forward, women still make up less than 25 per cent of the UK Cabinet, while 40 per cent of Scottish Cabinet members are women.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“For four years, David Cameron’s Government has presided over cuts which have hit women the hardest. While it is always welcome to see progress made on equality, the appointment of more women to Cabinet does not compensate for the impact of his welfare reforms on women in Scotland. What is needed is action to help women in Scotland who are suffering 69 per cent of the impact of unfair Tory welfare cuts.

"Evidence that Westminster is failing our women and young people grows by the day. We have already seen a 400 per cent increase in the number of people relying on food banks as a result of Westminster’s obsession with dismantling the welfare state, and now the UK Government's own report on Bedroom Tax - sneaked out during the reshuffle - finds 59 per cent of those hit by Bedroom Tax are in arrears. This week's report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation also highlights the impact Tory cuts are having on young people - and a majority are women.

“The Scottish Government is doing what it can to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts, but with the full powers of independence we could do so much more. In an independent Scotland we can not only build a welfare state that is a tool to tackle poverty and is a springboard to a better life – we can also take action to offer more opportunities for women. Our plans to transform childcare will help more parents – particularly women – back into work.

“We have also committed to ensuring women are not disadvantaged by the welfare system in the way the UK Government’s plans do.

“As Scotland’s Future makes clear, the Scottish Government is committed to building an equal Scotland. Women make up 40 per cent of the members of the Scottish Cabinet and just last month, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon held the first all-women Scottish Cabinet event, which brought together women from 130 organisations across Scotland.

“But we can’t allow Westminster to keep holding back progress on tackling inequality. Only a Yes vote will enable us to tackle inequality and poverty, and further empower women in the process.”


UK Government Distracted by Reshuffle as DWP in "Utter Shambles"

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Scottish National Party has said the UK government must not get distracted by a potential Cabinet reshuffle on Monday and focus on the “utter shambles” at the Department of Work and Pensions. The department has been heavily criticised recently for a string of blunders which have hit some of the most vulnerable people in society.

  • This week, the DWP failed to provide a straightforward answer to Parliament as to whether the Treasury had signed off the business case for the controversial Universal Credit welfare programme. Earlier in the week, top civil servant Bob Kerslake said the controversial scheme had not been approved by the Treasury, contradicting earlier assurances from welfare minister Esther McVey who told MPs that the Treasury had approved the "strategic outline business case".
  • The DWP has refused to commission analysis into the link between foodbanks and welfare cuts – despite Scotland Office Minister David Mundell calling for the research only two weeks ago. A report in the Daily Record states Westminster is “scared of the truth” on welfare following UK Employment Minister Esther McVey’s admission there are “no immediate plans to produce or commission further research”. This is despite foodbank use increasing by 400 per cent in the last year, with 22,000 children in Scotland forced to rely on foodbanks.
  • The Department of Work and Pensions was heavily criticised following a damning report from the Public Accounts Committee on the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which described the scheme as a “fiasco.” The cross-party group of MPs warned that the PIP scheme has been “rushed” through with a “shocking” impact on claimants.
Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“When it comes to welfare, Westminster is an utter shambles.

“While the UK government may be focusing on reshuffling their cabinet, they need to urgently act on some of the damage they are causing to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“Scotland is an incredibly wealthy nation – richer per head than France, Japan and the UK as a whole – and yet thanks to Westminster’s attack on the welfare state more than 22,000 children in Scotland have to rely on foodbanks.

“With a YES vote in September, we can make Scotland’s wealth work for all the people who live here and create a fairer welfare system based on Scotland’s needs – in stark contrast to Westminster’s punitive cuts which are pushing more and more people into poverty.”


YES Vote Can End Pensions Con

Monday, 7 July 2014

SNP Welfare spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford today said a YES vote could end the “pensions con” that UK Government and Labour politicians are trying to play on people in Scotland.

As Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee today (Monday) attempts to whip up fears over pensions, the SNP has called on the Westminster parties to stop treating people like fools and publish their plans for the future of the state pension.

Criticising the games being played by the no campaign around pension policy Dr Whiteford said:

“Pensioners have worked all their lives and made their contribution and we should ensure they receive decent pensions.

“Scotland has paid more in taxes in each and every one of the last 30 years than the rest of the UK, much of it through the efforts of those who are now pensioners and with independence we will ensure pensioners get the support they are rightly entitled to.

“The UK and Scottish Governments have guaranteed that pensions will continue to be paid whatever the result of the referendum and the Scottish Government has confirmed pensions will be set at a minimum of £160 a week in 2016-17. The UK Government and the Labour party have failed to tell pensioners what they intend to pay or confirm they will ensure pensions keep pace with the cost of living.

"Instead of trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes Labour and the UK Government should set out their position on the future of the state pension.

"Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations on earth, wealthier per head than the UK, Japan and France yet for too many people, including too many of our pensioners, it doesn’t feel that way.

"Scotland’s vast wealth and resources means we are more able to afford pensions as part of our economy and as a share of our revenues, and with independence we will be able to grow our economy, boost the number of working age people and increase revenues guaranteeing our older people the dignity they deserve in retirement."


UK Tax Regime "Damaging Oil and Gas Industry"

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Scottish National Party has condemned the UK Government for making changes to the oil and gas fiscal regime which could damage both the industry and the taxpayer.

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said the UK Government’s decision to introduce new bareboat chartering tax arrangements for leasing oil and gas rigs in the North Sea is likely to damage exploration activity as it could push up costs and reduce the availability of rigs.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly called on Westminster to reverse the changes, arguing the UK government are undermining exploration activity and could ultimately reduce the revenue that companies contribute to public finances. The proposed legislation has been entered as an amendment to the 2014 Finance Bill and it will replace a long-standing global arrangement for negotiated fiscal agreements between offshore drilling rig owners and HMRC.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“Westminster’s volatile tax regime is damaging the oil and gas industry.

“The measures proposed in the new legislation entirely remodel the economics of the UK Continental Shelf, effectively putting up the rent whilst driving down international competitiveness and scrapping any credibility that the UK is open for business.

“Stability and predictability are essential if we are to realise the North Sea’s full potential. That is why the Scottish Government appointed an Independent Expert Commission on Oil and Gas in September 2013, who will report shortly and will make specific proposals in relation to the North Sea fiscal regime with a view to providing long term stability and predictability for the industry.”

Aberdeenshire West MSP and Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Energy, Economy and Tourism Committee, Dennis Robertson, added:

“The Westminster Government has, once again, demonstrated their ability to go ahead with a damaging tax change in the Oil & Gas Industry.

“Despite their commitment to engage and consult with the Industry after the disastrous tax hike in 2011, clearly lessons have not been learnt and this shows a degree of contempt for the Industry. Voting Yes and giving Scotland full powers will help protect the Industry from further tax raids.”

Taf Powell, speaking on behalf of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, commented:

"With new exploration wells at an exceptionally low number in the UK, the drilling contractors would have much preferred to have engaged with the UK Government on initiatives for stimulating activity rather than have additional tax burdens imposed. These new measures move the UK from a middle ranking tax environment, comparable to the USA and Europe to the unstable high end of global tax regimes. We are concerned that the massive investments by drilling contractors in new and upgraded rigs will now be directed to more fiscally stable regions."


Buchan Baton Relay Praised by MP & MSP

Local MP Eilidh Whiteford and MSP Stewart Stevenson have praised the organisers of Sunday’s events in Buchan to mark the Commonwealth Games baton Relay coming to the area.

Eilidh and Stewart along with local councillors were present at Balmoor Stadium for the arrival of the Baton and the parade of community groups.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This was a spectacular and very colourful event and I’m delighted for the various youth groups and other participants that their very special contribution to a historic day for Buchan was witnessed by such a large crowd.

“My congratulations go to the organisers for what must have been a huge undertaking to bring the event together.”

Eilidh Whiteford MP with
the Baton bearers
Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford said:

“It’s been a great day for Peterhead and it’s such an important day for Scotland with the Commonwealth Games on the horizon.

“We had the whole town turning out - we had dancers, we had brownies and guides, we had the sea cadets, the Rotary Club and the Theatre Modo group.

“We were able to show what the town is about as we welcomed the baton bearers through.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Eilidh also attended the Peterhead JogScotland Running Festival and presented some of the prizewinners with their medals. She said:

“Stephen Bruce and the whole team at Peterhead JogScotland put in a tremendous effort to bring this event to Catto Park. There was a huge turnout for the event and it’s really excellent to see so many people either participating in sport or turning out to support those who are.


North East to be at Forefront of Second Energy Boom

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Whiteford comments on renewables potential on anniversary of climate change legislation

Dr Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the fifth anniversary of Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation.

June 25 marked five years since the Scottish Government’s commitment to leading the world in renewable energy. Since 2009, massive progress has been made towards building a Scotland self-sufficient in renewable energy – from 20.2% of Scottish energy consumption in 2007 to 46.5% in 2013. The Scottish Government’s objective is for the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Dr Whiteford said:

“The Scottish Government’s commitment really is world-leading, and sets a shining example on what can be achieved with political will. By encouraging renewables development, and investing in green technologies, Scotland has cultivated an international reputation as an engineering hub for renewables. In future, when other nations seek renewable solutions to their energy problems, it will be to Scottish companies that many turn for the expertise.

"The jobs and income from this industry will benefit everyone - particularly in ​the North-east where the bulk of this industry is located. We are very much on the cusp of a second energy boom for the north east. However, this time around, we have the opportunity to ensure that this boom will benefit everyone in Scotland, rather than being used as a cash cow by successive Westminster Governments - as has happened with our fossil fuel resources.

“By building our renewables industry we place ourselves at the forefront of a rapidly developing world market, which will only become more important. Energy security will represent one of the major challenges of the 21st century, and as fossil fuels become harder and more expensive to obtain, governments around the world will seek renewable solutions. As well as exporting expertise, Scotland hosts around 25% of the European Union’s total renewables capacity, and as the nations of Europe move away from fossil fuels, we are in a uniquely advantageous position to meet the continent’s demand for clean, sustainable energy."


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