News - Naidheachdan

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has condemned the UK Government's “sell out of Scotland's fishing industry”.

The draft terms of the Brexit transition deal show the UK government has agreed to abide by Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) rules for the whole of the transition period, which ends in December 2020.

Alasdair Allan said:

“The Scottish Conservatives’ leader had claimed that ‘Britain will leave the CFP as of March 2019.’ We know now that this was simply conjecture, and today’s events give the lie to her claim that her MPs 'have the ear of government.'

“Now we know not only will the UK have to abide by CFP rules during the transition period, it will lose the voting rights it has now.

"It is certain that leaving the European Union will bring about considerable disadvantages, and it is absolutely critical for our islands produce and trade that we remain in the single-market. However, the one possible claimed advantage of Brexit was that our islander fishermen would no longer be restricted by the CFP. The SNP have long held the position that while we believe that Scotland's future is best served within the European Union; the CFP is something which needs fundamentally reformed, or scrapped altogether.

“This transition deal however delivers nothing for our island fishermen. It is shameful that at this stage of negotiations, the Tories have sold out the fishing communities here in the islands, and right across Scotland once again.”


SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan has backed a cross-party approach to have the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project awarded to BiFab.

Commenting, Allan said:

“I have continually highlighted the importance of Arnish to our island economy. I am pleased that the Scottish Government remains committed to investigating long-term solutions for the yard and is working with BiFab to identify future investors. I will continue to maintain regular communications with the Government, stakeholders and Bifab workers at Arnish to ensure that the yard’s long-term future remains firmly on the agenda.

“I have also backed a cross-party approach to the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project to award the fabrication project to BiFab. Awarding this contract to BiFab would not only provide some short-term certainty to the yards but it would also demonstrate a commitment to the Scottish economy, and it would be a ringing endorsement of the talent, hard-work, dedication and commitment of the Arnish workforce.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed a funding boost delivered by the Scottish Government for NHS Western Isles to support frontline health care and help meet new demands across the Western Isles.

NHS Western Isles is set to receive an extra £2.3 million compared to last year – taking the total investment from the SNP Scottish Government for the year ahead to £73 million.

The commitment is part of a funding increase of over £400 million across Scotland – and NHS staff are also set to benefit from the ending of the public sector pay cap, boosting wages for hard working nurses, doctors, cleaners and clerical staff throughout the NHS.

Alasdair Allan commented:

“The SNP in Government continues to deliver for our NHS in the islands.

“These extra resources will ensure that Scotland continues to have the best performing NHS across the UK – with lower waiting times and higher patient satisfaction.

“Investing an extra £2.3 million in the coming year into NHS Western Isles will be will be a welcome boost for our communities – supporting frontline health care in the islands and helping us meet new demands and pressures across primary, community and social care, as well as in mental health.

“And this SNP Scottish Government budget also delivers a pay-rise for workers in our NHS – the only part of the UK to make such a commitment. When it comes to supporting workers in our NHS, only the SNP can be trusted.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has outlined concerns on proposals from Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd (HIAL) to discuss their plans to move to a system of Remote Air Traffic Control Towers.

In a recent letter to HIAL’s Managing Director, Alasdair Allan has questioned HIAL over the justifications for this proposal, and raised concerns about the economic impact this could have in Benbecula and Stornoway.

Alasdair Allan commented:

“When I met with HIAL’s Managing Director and Chair about this proposal earlier this month, I was keen to stress that there are concerns about the potential for the islands to lose high-quality well-paid jobs. My Westminster colleague Angus MacNeil MP and I have met with members of the workforces who are concerned not only about future employment, but also about how feasible or desirable such a system would be in the long run. HIAL have cited recruitment challenges as one of the motivations for this proposal, but this is an issue the industry as a whole faces and it is hard to accept this is something unique to the islands.

“It is also troubling that Benbecula is earmarked as the first airport to transition to remote operation. It would appear to be one of the airports with the best level of staff retention, minimal maintenance costs and it has the additional complication of significant military activity at both the airport and in the surrounding area.

“While I welcome the fact HIAL have agreed to undertake a social impact assessment, there are still a great number of question marks around this proposal, and I hope that they will engage further with key stakeholders and the affected communities on these points.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the passing of the Scottish Government’s budget in Holyrood today.

Alasdair Allan commented:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government’s Budget has now passed in Parliament. This is a budget which not only stimulates our economy, but works to progress a fairer society in Scotland, with increased funding for the NHS and protection for low and middle income earners. This budget is an investment in our islands.

“The Scottish Government’s budget will deliver lower income tax for 70% of Scots - with every worker earning less than £33,000 paying less in tax next year – while protecting our public services with a modest increase for higher earners.

“This budget brings an additional £400 million to NHS Scotland, delivers a pay rise for public sector workers, £756 million for affordable homes, a £4 billion investment in infrastructure, including in superfast broadband, as well as significant investments in research, education and childcare.

“In the face of massive Westminster cuts, ongoing Tory austerity and a damaging hard Brexit – this budget provides investment to seize the opportunities of tomorrow.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has written to the Chief Executives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and NHS Western Isles, urging them to respect the “overwhelming and seemingly unanimous view” of people in Uist that plans for a single dental hub should be abandoned.

The redesign of Dental services was discussed at last week’s [Thursday’s] meeting of the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board. Board members were evenly split on an amendment put forward by Cllr Paul Steele not to proceed with the hub model and to instead explore the development of a three site model. It is now for the Chief Executives of the Comhairle and NHS Western Isles to come to a joint decision on that amendment.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“Since these proposals were first put forward I have made numerous representations on behalf of the communities in Uist.

“The unanimity of representations received by my office against this proposal has been unprecedented. The overwhelming and seemingly unanimous view of my constituents is that the single hub model would be a backwards step in terms of the delivery of dental care in the Uists. The public meetings held on this issue made that abundantly clear.

“I am concerned that further attempts to impose this solution on the communities in Uist could severely damage the reputation and credibility of the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board. I have therefore written to both Chief Executives urging them to listen to the communities and abandon the single dental hub model.”

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