Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has tabled an Early
Day Motion in the House of Commons to mark the 75th anniversary of the Catalina
Air crash on Vatersay.
The RAF plane crashed at Heisheaval Beag on Vatersay on the night of May 12th 1944 with the loss of three lives.
The plane took off from Oban for a training exercise with
nine crew on board and were due to fly over the nearby point of Barra Head.
The wreckage of the plane remains scattered at the site and
a memorial stands to those who died and survived the accident.
Mr MacNeil’s EDM is entitled ‘Remembering the Catalina 75th
Anniversary’ and reads:
“That this House notes the 75th anniversary of The Catalina
aircraft tragedy of 12 May 1944 which set off from Oban on a training exercise
set for Barra Head but tragically crashed near the summit of Heisheaval Beag on
the Island of Vatersay; remembers the bravery and sacrifice of the Catalina
crews which hunted U-boats off the coast to save the lives of merchant seamen
bringing food to nations under rations; marks the anniversary of the deaths of
Flight Sergeant David Clyne, Sergeant Fred Basset and rigger Sergeant Patrick
Hines; recalls the courage of the other six crew members on board who survived
while sadly losing their colleagues; and also notes in civilian life Dennistoun
born Flight Sergeant David Clyne had a successful football career by playing
for Queens Park FC and being twice capped at Scottish amateur level.”
Speaking in today’s Climate Change debate in the House of
Commons, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil asked Environment Secretary
Michael Gove MP to push Ofgem to approve a 600MW interconnector for the Western
Mr MacNeil said: “A major help in reducing the UK’s Carbon
footprint is the inclusion of a 600MW interconnector to the mainland – from the
best wind resource in Europe.
“At the moment Ofgem are talking about a 450MW link, for
just 4p more for the billpayer, we could do a lot more.
“Will he stamp on Ofgem and when they talk about concerns
for the consumer, will they talk about concerns for the consumer’s environment
and not a tawdry 4p on people’s bill.”
Mr Gove said it was a ‘fair point well made’ although adding
it was a decision for Ofgem.
Mr MacNeil was contacted by many constituents asking him to
take part in today’s Opposition Day Climate Change debate.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP,
Angus MacNeil has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government is
again tendering for the PSO route from Barra to Glasgow but is asking for more
action to ensure the community can access lifeline flights at short notice.
Mr MacNeil said: “It is
ironic that on the day of this announcement, there were no seats available
between Glasgow and Barra for the next fortnight.
“This is impacting on the
local community and businesses, both local and off island, who are having to
deal with shorter windows of need and find that bookings are taken by tourists
who have booked long in advance, sometimes just doing day returns.”
He added: “I would ask
Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport to accept that all the
seats have booking windows typically of 9-12 months but that they do need to
keep some seats with shorter booking windows of 2-4 weeks for the summer
“During the summer, the lifeline air service is very often closed to islanders because of the length of booking windows.”
The Invitation To Tender for the contract, which will run
for four years from 25 October 2019 includes new measures which will see little
used services from Barra and Tiree removed from schedules to create a bank of
rotations which can be deployed at the discretion of local communities.
A trial on the Barra service, which sees seats reserved for
passengers travelling for medical purposes, will also be formalised in the new
Approval of a 600MW interconnector to maximise renewables potential in the Western Isles is vital in the face of the climate emergency facing us all, says SNP MP Angus MacNeil.
Mr MacNeil says
UK Government agency Ofgem must ‘do the right thing’ to support Scotland’s
vision for action on climate change, as outlined by First Minister Nicola
Sturgeon at the SNP Conference at the weekend.
said: “Nicola Sturgeon has declared a climate emergency.
“One of the
best ways to combat climate change is clean energy and in the Hebrides we have
the best wind resource in Europe.
“All that is
holding us back is the go-ahead from Ofgem for a 600MW interconnector. We
need an interconnector which is of a size that will allow development to take
the 600MW option would cost bill payers 4p more per year than the 450MW option.
In light of a climate emergency, this is a very small price to pay.
be standing in the way.
will replace the use of fossil fuels and add to a green clean future.”
Mr MacNeil has
responded to the consultation currently being held by Ofgem who will make their
decision on the Final Needs Case for the Western Isles link this summer.
Mr MacNeil also
pointed out several significant announcements made by the First Minister which
will benefit many of his constituents:
A new £150m scheme to assist first time buyers.
First-time buyers will be offered loans of up to
£25,000 to help them pay the deposits on their first properties. Buyers will be
required to fund a minimum of 5% of the deposits in exchange. This scheme will open later this
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to
Transport Minister Michael Matheson MSP to suggest the Scottish Government
visit the Faroe Islands to see the new 11.2 km subsea tunnel.
Mr MacNeil has hailed the success of the Faroes in creating
a highly advanced transportation infrastructure which includes 17 land tunnels
and two subsea tunnels with another almost complete and construction on a
further tunnel due to start soon.
The system, which will include the world’s first subsea
roundabout, will virtually eradicate the need for ferry services.
Mr MacNeil said: “The transport network in the Faroes is the
kind of system we should aspire to follow in the Scottish islands.
“Infrastructure of this kind would have huge economic and
social benefits to all parts of the islands and would remove travel disruption
due to weather conditions or issues associated with capacity.”
He has suggested to Transport Minister Michael Matheson that
Transport Scotland should visit the nearly complete Faroese tunnel and learn
from the Faroese experience of creating a seamless travel system.
The new Faroes tunnel will shorten the travel distance from
the capital of Tórshavn to Runavík/Strendur from 55 kilometres to 17
kilometres. The 64 minute drive will be shortened to 16 minutes. The drive from
Tórshavn to Klaksvík will be shortened from 68 minutes to 36 minutes.
The tunnel will connect both sides of the bay of
Skálafjørður using two tunnels that connect to a roundabout under the seabed at
mid-bay. The tunnel will be 2.2 kilometers long from the main road at Rókini in
Saltnes to the roundabout, and the distance from Sjógv at Strendur to the
roundabout will be 1.7 kilometers.
Constructing a 600MW interconnector to the Western Isles
would cost consumers just 4p more per household per year than the 450MW option.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil continues to
engage with Ofgem who recently announced their minded-to position of favouring
a 450MW link over a 600MW.
As part of that engagement Mr MacNeil asked Ofgem for
figures on what the two options would mean for household bills and learned that
the 600MW would mean just 4p per household per year more than the 450MW option.
Mr MacNeil says favouring the smaller link would prevent the
islands reaching their full renewables potential.
He said: “The figures I obtained from Ofgem show a 600MW link would add 43p to annual household bills and a 450MW would add 39p.
“It is clear that the 600MW option is much better value for
money as it could boost the economy in a way the 450MW link could not.
“An extra 4p would allow a link which had room for current
proposals and future development; the potential to create more jobs; and capacity
for the islands to grow this sector. It would allow the islands to meet their
full renewables potential in an area with the best wind resource in Europe.
“Ofgem’s figures do not take account of the fact that extra
supply on the network would also lower prices for the consumer.
“Energy consumers have to pay for the cost of investment in
new capacity and it is Ofgem’s role to ensure it obtains the best deal possible
“In this case it seems obvious that the best possible deal
is the one which will bring the greatest long term positive economic impact at
minimal additional cost – and that is the 600MW option.”
Ofgem are carrying out a consultation prior to a final
decision and visited Lewis last week to meet developers and local agencies.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus
MacNeil is supporting calls from consumer group Which? for the Tory Government
to put people’s safety first and ensure all fire-risk tumble dryers are removed
from UK homes.
Which? UK estimate there
could be up to 500,000 unmodified fire-risk tumble dryers still being used,
more than three years after the first safety notice was issued.
Mr MacNeil appealed to island
residents to check if their machines were affected when the first safety notice
was issued in 2017.
He was subsequently involved
in supporting several constituents in ensuring the relevant modifications were
carried out or the machine was replaced.
The UK Government’s Office
for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) finally published their review on
Whirlpool’s modification programme last week and concluded that modified
machines are safe to use.
Which? UK have however
received reports that some modified machines are continuing to have safety
issues. They are now urging the Government to take urgent action to keep unsafe
products out of people’s homes and for manufacturers and retailers to remove
unsafe products from the market without delay.
Mr MacNeil said: “Which? UK
believe there are half a million unmodified fire-risk tumble dryers still being
used across the UK and so I would urge constituents to check again if their
machine is affected.
“I am supporting Which’s
campaign for the UK Government to do more to deal with this matter and to make
sure that unsafe products are not being sold and used.
“It is just not enough to
make soft recommendations to the firms responsible.”
OPSS has published specific
requirements for Whirlpool to act on and issued a Decision Letter telling
Whirlpool that the company must improve its management of risk; set up a more
rigorous system of quality assurance to ensure modifications are correctly
installed; and reach affected consumers in more creative ways to minimise the
risk of faulty machines still being in people’s homes.
While this stage of the review is now complete, OPSS say they will continue to scrutinise Whirlpool’s actions against these requirements.
You can call Whirlpool on 0800 151 0905 to
find out whether your dryer needs a repair and arrange for it to be fixed or
Visit safety.hotpoint.eu or safety.indesit.eu
where you can input your model number and, if your model is affected, you can
register it for a service and modification. Creda dryers can also be checked on
the Hotpoint site.
Before you contact Whirlpool, check whether your
dryer has a green dot sticker on the inside of the door towards the top, either
on the door itself or the door rim. If there’s no green dot in these two areas,
check the back panel of the machine in the middle and towards the top. If
your dryer has a green sticker positioned in these areas, it is not part of the
safety alert or has been repaired already.
If your dryer is one of those affected by the fault, you must contact
Whirlpool to arrange a repair or replacement, unplug it immediately and do
not use it until it’s been fixed.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil has written to
Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for the UK Government’s Seasonal Workers Pilot
scheme to be extended to include the fishing industry.
The West Coast of Scotland fishing industry continues to
face a labour shortage crisis and Mr MacNeil has repeatedly called on the UK
Government to change immigration rules and allow non-European Economic Area
workers to work on fishing boats.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid recently informed MPs that a
Seasonal Workers Pilot will commence this month to support the horticulture
sector. The scheme will allow non-EU migrant workers to work in UK farms to
support farmers growing fruit and vegetables.
Mr MacNeil said: “Ensuring that skippers have enough crew to
take a boat to sea is a crucial way that the UK Government can support the
“The start of the Seasonal Workers Pilot this month will
allow the horticultural industry to fill labour gaps and the same scheme would
make a significant difference to the fishing industry.
“I have met with six Immigration Ministers to discuss this
issue over the last few years but there has been no progress.
“However I hope the introduction of this pilot scheme is an
indication that the UK Government may be prepared to finally look at the crisis
facing the fishing industry. I will write to Home Secretary asking him to
h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has welcomed the announcement
from Ofcom that broadband and landline customers will get money back from their
providers when things go wrong, without having to fight for it.
BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen
Internet have joined Ofcom’s scheme, which is not compulsory.
From today (Monday 1st April),
customers who experience delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer
appointments will be compensated, without having to ask.
Commenting Angus MacNeil said:
“BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen
Internet have signed up to the scheme and have agreed to compensate customers
when they experience these delays, without having to ask and Ofcom will
carefully monitor companies’ compliance with the compensation scheme.
“We all know how inconvenient it is when faults
happen with our broadband or landline, this scheme is a step in the right