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.”
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.”
Angus MacNeil SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar has echoed the First Minister’s call for Scotland to have an immigration system “fit for purpose and fit for Scotland’s needs”.
Scotland relies on migration for growing our population – more so than anywhere else in the UK.
All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration.
The Scottish Government has proposed that a Scottish visa should be introduced with the criteria and rules set in Scotland. The Scottish tax code is a current example of a residence-based framework within the UK.
Regional immigration schemes operate successfully in other countries such as Australia and Canada.
Commenting Angus MacNeil said
“Given depopulation and needs for labour in Fisheries, Scotland needs to control migration and work visas so that our islands can become better off. Freedom of movement has enabled a number of people to come and make their homes here in the Islands and actively contribute to our communities, but we also know that is not enough.
Currently, the UK Government allows five times more migration from the rest of the world than comes from EU Freedom of Movement, we just need to tailor this for Scotland and our islands. These people are crucial to our caring professions, to areas like our NHS, to tourism and of course fishing crews in our inshore waters, which the UK Gov has been working against.
“The SNP would prefer to see Scotland remain in Europe as voted for by more than 60% at the Brexit referendum.
“As the First Minister said, “leaving the EU, and ending freedom of movement, will not only be bad for our economy and our public services but will deprive Scots of our rights to live and work across Europe.”
“No matter what happens with Brexit, we need a migration system fit for purpose and fit for Scotland’s needs.
“At this election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”
SNP’s Angus MacNeil calls for a clear timescale for the delivery of interconnectors to Scotland’s islands.
As Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister unveiled SNP plans for a Green Energy Deal to support a transformational shift towards the energy schemes of the future, Angus MacNeil SNP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar called on the UK Government to set a clear timescale for the delivery of the Interconnector in the Islands.
Included in the SNP proposals are reforms of the charging regime that discourages investment in Scotland, delivering an adequately funded tidal and wave energy strategy and ensuring that green energy projects get the long-term certainty needed to support investment.
Most importantly for Na h-Eileanan an Iar is the commitment to set a clear timescale for the delivery of the Interconnectors to the Scottish Islands, something which Mr MacNeil has been urging the UK Government to do for some time.
During the last Parliamentary Session, Mr MacNeil wrote to both Ofgem and the UK Governments Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng and also challenged him in the Commons on this issue. Mr MacNeil expressed disappointment in September when the Contracts for Difference (CfD) Auction results announced by the UK Government awarded just 240MWh to projects in the Western Isles.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“The UK Government must take the green agenda seriously. Ensuring that the interconnector comes to the Hebrides will enable clean, green energy to be delivered across the country. It is a ludicrous policy of the UK Government to award only 240 MWh in CfD round 3 while knowing that 369-400 MWh are needed to make the Interconnector economically viable.
“As an independent country, Scotland would ensure that a cable to the islands was built, to get the cleanest and greenest forms of energy from the wind in one of the statistically windiest places in Europe. It is particularly important to our young people as they look to their future that we ensure energy supplies without the need for carbon dioxide emissions.
“This is a crucial election. Voting for the SNP is a vote to secure a better outlook for our climate, for the next generation and to allow Scot’s to choose Scotland’s future.”
Angus MacNeil SNP candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar officially opened the campaign hub in Stornoway this morning.
The campaign hub at 8 Church Street, Stornoway, is the base for the SNP
campaign in the islands and will be open Monday to Saturday for the duration of
Launching his campaign, surrounded by supporters, Mr MacNeil
“It has been a great privilege to represent the people of Na h-Eileanan an Iar
in Parliament and I hope to continue to do that after December 12th.
“I know that people are really fed-up with the situation at Westminster.
For Scotland, this Election is about choosing our own future – about what kind
of country we want to be and about taking control of our own affairs. For the
United Kingdom, the Election is about Brexit – breaking away from our European
partners and exiting the free trade deals we currently enjoy.
“I hope to see as many people as possible in this short campaign and that you
will again allow me to use my experience by representing you in Westminster by
voting for me and for the SNP on December 12th.”
Tory proposals risk raising the pension age to 75 by 2035 have been condemned by SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar candidate Angus Brendan MacNeil.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“Following on from the betrayal of Waspi women, an influential Tory Think-Tank led by Iain Duncan Smith architect of much of the current harsh Tory welfare system, aim to make changes to pensions for those born between 1961 and 1977. “Under their plans, the pension age would rise to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035 again giving little time for those affected to plan for their future needs.
“The UK already has the lowest pensions in Europe and leaving the EU will only encourage the Tory Government to reduce further the Welfare system, starting with a further attack on pensions, this is surely a Tory risk we cannot take. In contrast, the SNP voted at their conference to increase State Pension to match the EU average £355 per week in an independent Scotland. “In this election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to choose the kind of country we want to live in. A vote for the SNP is a vote for a progressive welfare system which values all ages from the cradle to the grave.
SNP’s Angus MacNeil launching his election campaign in Na
h-Eileanan an Iar today said:
“It is a privilege to have been chosen by local SNP members
to stand as candidate for the 2019 Election. The Election of 2017 was
unexpected but this election has been predicted almost every month since June
“For Scotland this Election is about choosing our own future
– about what kind of country we want to be and about taking control of our own
affairs. For the United Kingdom the Election is about Brexit – breaking away
from our European partners and exiting the
free trade deals we currently enjoy. As Chair of the International Trade
Committee, I have seen the World Trade Organisation(WTO) tariffs and how countries try to join
together in blocs to prevent having to pay the higher rates attached to WTO
deals. There is no good Brexit – no other trade arrangements will give the UK
the benefits it currently enjoys – even the Tory Governments own reports show
“The current Labour Party are in disarray as they have been
for a number of years – not sure if they support the Tory Brexit or if they are
a Remain Party ready to be propped up by the Lib Dems. In Scotland a lack of
leadership has left Labour a poor shadow of a once proud party that could claim
to speak for the people.
“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 Free Prescription, Free University Tuition , Free Bus travel for
the elderly and the many other privileges that living in Scotland affords.
“I would encourage everyone to vote SNP on December 12th and allow me the honour of representing you
in Westminster where I will Stand Strong in the interests of Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Eilean Siar Food bank is again this year looking for
donations in the run up to Christmas to ensure that Foodbank user’s can have a
few treats at Christmas just like the rest of us.
As in previous years Angus B MacNeil MP’s Constituency
Office will be available as a drop -off point for donations. The Eilean Siar Foodbank
is a voluntary organisation and has limited opening hours while the
Constituency Office is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Eilean Siar Foodbank have particularly asked for the
following items : Custard, Tinned fruit (mandarins & fruit cocktails)
Christmas puds, mince pies, Selection boxes, Tined Ham & Salmon. Currently
the foodbank have a good supply of soup, beans and pasta.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said
I am pleased to be able to help this very worthwhile cause
and my office staff will continue to work in the Office during the Election
campaign and will be able to accept any donations for the Foodbank.
It is sad that in a country with the resources and potential
of Scotland that people still need to use Foodbanks but that is the reality of
the United Kingdom that we live in today.
Island people are known for their generosity and I am sure
the Foodbank will be well supported especially at this time of year.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus B MacNeil has
spoken to the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural
Economy Fergus Ewing MSP regarding concerns about the convergence uplift
funding which was announced in the last few days.
Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:
“Clearly there are concerns that the
convergence money is not being distributed to where it is most needed.
“The Scottish Government must review
and make good the concerns of crofters and meet the original hopes for this
know that this money was delayed by Westminster for a number of years and that
the current money has to be distributed by March 2020. It would seem that the
Scottish Government has rushed to announce this funding in order to meet this
Ewing has assured me that he remains keen to ensure that active crofters and
farmers in upland and sheep areas do benefit proportionately from this money
and that LFASS will be protected.
would see a lot more money in our communities if support for crofting in
Scotland was on an equal par with support given to similar activities in other
European countries and this convergence money should be a step in the right
“This is certainly a moving situation
and I hope that after Fergus Ewing visits Lewis this week, he will take on
board the concerns that will no doubt be raised with him and allay the fears of
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil this week met
with EE and BT to discuss the rollout of the 4G Emergency Services Network
(ESN) across the Hebrides.
Mr MacNeil has been persistently lobbying the UK government
and mobile operators to ensure that improvements are made to mobile
connectivity in the Hebrides.
Mr MacNeil had an informative and fruitful meeting with
Duncan Warne from EE and Henry Parker from BT at Westminster.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“There are now 44 operational 4G masts across the Hebrides,
31 new masts have been built adding to the 13 masts which were previously in
existence. There are another 8 new masts in the pipeline; 5 in Lewis, 1 in
Harris, 1 in North Uist, 1 in South Uist and an upgrade of the mast on the west
side of Barra.
“In Lewis there are currently 19 4G masts; 8 in Harris, 6 in
North Uist, 1 in Benbecula, 5 in South Uist, 1 in Eriskay and 4 between Barra
“I also raised the issue of 4G outages and calls dropping as
people travel throughout the Hebrides. EE are aware of this, they have
performance indicators and they will be aiming to improve the service.
“On some of the new mast sites there are issues with
ownership and access, planning permission has been granted for most of
them. EE tell me that we should have a continually improving 4G network
in the Hebrides, the Emergency Services Network should be all be built by
October 2020, and operational in the months thereafter.
“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.”