Improved mobile connectivity remains a priority says MacNeil

Improved mobile connectivity in Na h-Eileanan an Iar will remain a priority. Mr MacNeil has been persistently lobbying the UK Government and mobile operators to ensure that improvements are made to mobile connectivity in the Hebrides. 

Angus MacNeil recently met with representatives from EE and BT at Westminster and was pleased to hear about improvements being made to the network across the islands. 

Commenting Mr MacNeil said:

“Whilst there is still much work to be done, I hope that many people are finding the improvements to the 4G service to be useful in their daily lives, it has certainly been quite a struggle to get to this point but following my meeting with EE and BT, I am optimistic that progress is being made to enhance the 4G service.

“There are now 44 operational 4G masts across the Hebrides and another 8 new masts in the pipeline. This is an issue I will continue to pursue with mobile operators.” 

ENDS

One week until Polling Day

“It has been enjoyable going through the Islands and hearing the views of voters from Barra to the Butt of Lewis. On the doorsteps people understand that the choice in this election is between choosing for ourselves what kind of country we want to live in or allowing others to make that choice for us.

“ The recent Ipsos MORI poll for STV shows support for the SNP at 44%  with the Tories in second place 18% behind. Only by voting for the SNP can Scotland help deprive the Tories and Boris Johnson of the victory they so badly want.

“In Scotland the Scottish Government has spent billions mitigating the worst of the austerity imposed by the Tories and unchecked by a weakened Labour Party fighting among themselves rather than for the people they are supposed to represent.

 “In Westminster, the SNP will continue to make the case for free TV Licenses for the over 75’s and to prevent a future Tory Government from further increasing the pension age. We will also argue for the UK Government to match the ambitious climate targets set by the Scottish Government and against any renewal of Trident.“I would encourage everyone to vote on December 12th  and only a vote for the SNP will ensure we get the fairer, more equal Scotland we want.”

Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar speaking just a week before the election said

WASPI Women must be treated fairly says Angus MacNeil SNP

WASPI Women must be treated fairly says Angus MacNeil SNP

Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar fully supports the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign in their efforts to secure fairness for women affected by the acceleration in the retirement age – up to 1900 women in Na h-Eileanan an Iar alone.

SNP-commissioned research found that it would cost £8 billion to reverse the 2011 changes and give WASPI women more time to prepare – significantly less than the £30 billion suggested by the UK Government.

Commenting Angus MacNeil said:

“Due to the UK Government’s shambolic handling of the process these women have not been given reasonable time to prepare for retirement. This is a gross injustice.  Pensions are not a privilege, they are a contract and the UK Government has broken that contract.

“Sadly this is one area that the Scottish Government cannot do anything about – pensions are fully reserved to Westminster and the Scotland Act 2016 explicitly prevents the Scottish Parliament from creating new pension benefits. Neither can the power to top-up benefits be used because WASPI women are not yet in receipt of a pension.

 “It is right that in their Manifesto the SNP pledges support for the WASPI campaign and that SNP MPs will continue to call on the UK Government to take responsibility, deliver the pension that women born in the 1950s deserve and end this inequality.”

ENDS

MacNeil warns secret US-UK trade deal would undermine Scottish produce


Following President Trump’s arrival in the UK yesterday and the recent leak of internal memos from the Department for International Trade’s US-UK trade and investment working group, the SNP have warned that Scottish produce could be undermined and food standards threatened by a secretive Trump-Johnson trade deal.  

The memos reveal that Geographical Indications (GIs) – a mark of quality that protects produce from imitation and to promote regional products – have also been put on the table as part of potential trade negotiations.

The US and EU have long disagreed over GIs, however with the UK Governments extreme Brexit plans the US have presented their “potential objectives” on loosening and changing standards for GIs. If this was to take place it would be a disaster for Scottish produce including Stornoway Black Pudding, Scottish farmed salmon, Scotch lamb and Scotch whisky. 

The US have also been encouraging the UK, in the event of Brexit, to assert “regulatory autonomy” and not be bound by the EU’s high standards on produce. 

Commenting, Angus MacNeil SNP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, said:

“A secretive trade deal which destroys food standards and Scotland’s world class produce, particularly Stornoway black pudding, Scottish farmed salmon and whisky, would be highly detrimental in Na h-Eileanan an Iar. It shows that the Tories are willing to sell-out Scottish produce to please Donald Trump. 

“The Local Level Brexit Vulnerabilities report released in October showed that Na h-Eileanan an Iar would be the most vulnerable and hardest hit area in Scotland to the damage of Brexit. It reiterates the fact that there is no good Brexit.

“There has been tremendous fuss about a US-UK trade deal when the reality is that such a deal would add only 0.2% to UK GDP, with a lot less to US GDP, while Brexit will cost UK 6-8% of GDP.”

ENDS

We all should play our part in reducing marine pollution, says MacNeil

SNP’s Angus MacNeil, along with many islanders is saddened at the discovery of a sperm whale  which died after it was stranded on Seilebost Beach on the Isle of Harris. 

Inside the whale a 100kg litter ball was found in the stomach containing fishing nets, rope, plastic cups and plastic bags. 

Commenting Angus MacNeil, Na h-Eileanan an Iar said:


“The image of the whale on Seilebost Beach has shocked many people and further highlights the problem we have with marine pollution.

“Marine pollution is a problem world-wide which affects the Western Isles as everywhere else. If not controlled marine pollution could adversely affect the fishing industry and tourism which rely on our reputation for a clean environment and increasingly the wild life around our coasts.


“There are a number of different strands to marine pollution – locally we need to ensure that waste – household, agricultural and from those that use the sea is properly disposed of and not just dumped. Individually we need to reduce our use of plastic and single use items, ensure that we do not litter beaches and public places and sort our household waste correctly. 

“Personally I often pickup rubbish as I walk the beach at Tangasdale and I know many others do this too. I commend all those who tidy our beaches regularly and for campaign groups such as ‘Clean Coast Outer Hebrides’ for raising awareness of the importance of our coastal environment.

“We must all play our part to preserve our coasts for use by future generations.”

ENDS

MacNeil says SNP Scottish Government show just what Scotland can do

MacNeil says SNP Scottish Government show just what Scotland can do

Speaking on St Andrew’s Day, Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar pointed out just how much the SNP Scottish Government has done to support all age groups in Scotland in the last ten years.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said

“Today, in Scotland the party that speaks for the people of Scotland is the SNP, the party which continues to govern as Westminster sinks; the party of baby boxes, increased child  care, Free University Tuition fees and Bursaries for Nursing and Midwifery Students, Free prescriptions, Free personal care, Free bus travel for over 60’s and disabled people. The benefits of living under an SNP Government cannot be over emphasized.

“ All these measures together with the changes coming through the Scottish Benefits system and the millions spent mitigating the worst excesses of Tory austerity show just what a country like Scotland can do. Imagine how much more we could achieve with full Independence! And now even the Labour Party in the UK want to copy our policies!

“This is an important election for Scotland. On 12th December we can choose who decides how Scotland is governed and what kind of country we want. Only a vote for the SNP can deliver for Scotland”

Ends

Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar echoes concerns of Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation

Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar echoes concerns raised by the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation on the current Brexit situation.

Commenting Angus MacNeil said

 “I have raised the difficulties which will be faced by Creel Fishermen in Parliament on a number of occasions. In July 2018 I questioned the then Prime Minister Theresa May about the difficulties of exporting Shellfish post Brexit. It was clear from her answer that she had no understanding of the complications Brexit would create for this important industry and the livelihoods of inshore fishermen. I have continued to raise this in Parliament at every opportunity.

“Alistair Sinclair of the SCFF is right to warn of tariffs on shellfish products and the strong possibility of fresh produce going bad in the lorry parks of Dover as they wait to access Europe. France and Spain are the main markets for our Shellfish producers and they need to know how their produce will get to market.

“I have to agree with Mr Sinclair when he says that the last thing fishermen need is tariffs and barriers.

“Only a strong SNP presence in Westminster will give any protection to Inshore Fishermen.

Register to vote to choose Scotland’s future says Angus MacNeil SNP

Only 4 working days left to register to vote

Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar is asking everyone to ensure they have a vote on December 12th.  The deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday 26th November and this is also the last day for obtaining a Postal Vote.

Speaking in Stornoway Mr MacNeil said

“ This is a crucial election for Scotland and despite only 6.5 hours of daylight and cold nights it is vital that there is a good turnout at this election.

“ In 2015 non-voters outnumbered the supporters of every single political party, if these people had voted Westminster could have been a very different place.

“It is especially important that 18-30year olds vote. Not only are they the largest block of voters but this election will decide their future – in Europe or out and whether Scotland should be Independent like other normal countries.

“Only by ensuring you have a vote and using it can you choose what kind of country Scotland will be”

MacNeil speaks on ITV leaders debate

Angus MacNeil speaks on ITV leaders debate.


Last night’s leaders debate has drawn a lot of comment with many feeling that despite the SNP not taking part that they have come out of it looking very well.


Commenting, Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar said:


“What people saw last night was the Boris / Corbyn horror show and the chaos that they have created together over the last few months. Fortunately, Scotland has got a way to escape Brexit but we can only do that if we have strong SNP representation at Westminster.” 

ENDS.

Keep Free TV Licences for those over 75 says Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Angus MacNeil SNP candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar has called on the next Government to back a committee of MP’s who have urged the BBC and the Government to reach agreement to continue funding free TV Licenses to over 75’s.

The BBC plans to scrap blanket free licences for over-75s, only households with one person who receives pension credit will still be eligible but in October 2019 the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee called on the BBC and the Government to reach an agreement to continue funding free TV licences to over 75’s after 2020.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said: “There are around 3,000 island residents who are over the age of 75 – just over 10 per cent of our islands population.

“They should continue to be exempt from paying for a TV licence and any effort to remove that and impose an additional household bill on older people is shameful.

“For many people TV is just welcome entertainment, but for others it is day to day company which helps combat loneliness and isolation.

“Over the last few months this matter has been raised several times in Parliament and together with my SNP colleagues I will continue to urge whichever Government is in power after the election to ensure the continuation of Free TV licences for the over 75’s”

“The BBC plans to scrap blanket free licences for over-75s, only households with one person who receives pension credit will still be eligible but in October 2019 the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee called on the BBC and the Government to reach an agreement to continue funding free TV licences to over 75’s after 2020.”

ENDS