News - Naidheachdan

19 April 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan and Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes have written jointly to Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) to urge increased investment in Uig pier in the Isle of Skye.
 
CMAL is currently undertaking a series of public meetings regarding the design and build of the new dual fuel vessel for the Uig Triangle route, and to discuss harbour infrastructure at Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy.
 
Community groups and businesses have raised concerns about the pier. In past years, significant service disruption on the Uig Triangle has been attributed to the pier’s alignment.
 
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
 
“It was clear to me from meeting people who attended the recent meeting held by CMAL in Lochmaddy, that there are concerns about the ability to bring vessels alongside in Uig, particularly in a south-westerly wind. This can obviously be highly disruptive to passengers coming from Uist and Harris.
 
“With £97 million being spent by the Scottish Government on two new duel fuel ferries - one of which is earmarked for the Uig triangle – it makes sense that changes are made to Uig to make it more accessible. I am impressed by the new vessel’s design, and in particular by the fact that she is more powerful than the current vessel, MV Hebrides. However, I would urge CMAL to continue to engage with the communities about plans for improvements at Uig.”

18 April 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has called on Highlands and Islands Tory MSPs to “stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK Government”, and to show the courage to oppose the Tory Government’s “shocking and inhumane rape clause”.  

This limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape.

Many sexual violence support charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK government, not least due to the trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“I know from talking with groups like Western Isles Rape Crisis the huge challenges that face survivors of rape in the Isles. The absolute last thing that we as a society should be doing is asking them to disclose highly traumatic and distressing information in order to claim tax credits. This is an utterly shameful policy.    

“The so called two child policy seriously threatens to drive up child poverty. It will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for hardworking families. Instead of standing up for working families the Scottish Tories are defending the indefensible welfare cuts coming from Westminster.

“I will continue to fight these heartless policies and I have written to Conservative MSPs who claim to represent the Highlands and Islands asking them to stand up for the dignity and human rights of women in Scotland and to condemn this appalling policy.”

03 April 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has called on BT to improve their services to the local island communities, after a catalogue of complaints made to his constituency office in Stornoway in the past few months.

In a letter to BT’s head of service in Scotland, Brendan Dick, Dr Allan has called for improvements across the islands, and for BT to address the issues that islanders have been facing, ranging from persistent installation delays to intermittent network service.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:


“As the Scottish Government continues to invest in broadband services across Scotland, it’s time for BT to up their game in the Western Isles. The number and the nature of the complaints I have received to my constituency office is not acceptable.

“In the 21st century, a reliable broadband service is not a luxury, but an essential part of everyday life. In rural communities such as ours, many rely on their broadband services to run their local businesses, or maintain contact with friends and family on the mainland. The Scottish Government has bold and ambitious plans to invest in ensuring that 100% of premises across Scotland can reach a superfast connection by 2021. BT must also show some ambition for our islands, and address the faults that have affected too many service users.”

 

30 March 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the announcement that Highlands and Islands Enterprise is to retain its own board.

The announcement was made in a ministerial statement to the Scottish Parliament on the Enterprise and Skills Review by Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP, earlier today.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“I, and my Highlands and Islands SNP colleagues, have met with Keith Brown several times on this subject and raised a number of concerns about this issue. I am pleased to see the Cabinet Secretary has taken onboard those concerns and responded so positively.

“There was never any doubt about HIE’s future as an organisation, or that it would continue to be locally-based, managed and directed. However, I did appreciate the worries people had about the board, and I hope that the commitment given today will allay those concerns.

“HIE performs incredibly valuable work in the Western Isles in helping to create and sustain jobs, and these new arrangements should protect and enhance the unique service they provide to us.”

28 March 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan tonight voted in favour of giving the Scottish people a choice over the future of their country, in a future independence referendum. 

The motion agreed to in the Scottish Parliament this evening gives the Scottish Government a mandate to seek an order under section 30 of the Scotland Act to allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate on a future referendum on the question of Scottish Independence.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“Scotland stands at a crossroads. The next two years will determine what kind of country Scotland will be. The people of Scotland must be offered a choice between the hard Brexit currently being pursued by the Tory Government and becoming an independent country.

“The Scottish Government offered a big compromise which would reluctantly mean Scotland leaving the EU if we could stay in the Single Market. However, the UK Government has refused to listen even to this compromise.

“We have now set out a plan to protect Scotland’s interests and, when the options are clear, give the people a choice. We will do all we can to protect Scotland’s interests during the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU. When the terms of Brexit are known we will give the people the choice over the direction Scotland should take – while there is still an opportunity to change course. Before people make that choice the Scottish Government will set out the challenges and opportunities of independence. In particular, it will set out how to secure our relationship with Europe, build a stronger economy, a fairer society, and forge a genuine partnership of equals across these islands.”

28 March 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has expressed local concerns about proposals to relocate dental services in Uist to a central location, following the measure being voted through by the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board last week.

Uist is currently serviced by three dental clinics; in Lochmaddy, Liniclate, and Lochboisdale. The proposals envisage all services being moved into Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh, Balivanich. This would leave some patients with a round trip in excess of 60 miles.

Last month the local MSP met with Uist community councils to discuss the issue.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“I met with community representatives in Uist last month who left me in no doubt about their views on the proposals to centralise dental services in Balivanich. It is quite concerning to hear the extent to which local community groups feel their voices are not being listened to by the Western Isles IJB.

“Since then, I have taken this up with the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board and have made clear that peoples’ concerns are real.

“In particular, I am not personally convinced that there is a real explanation on offer about how transport would be improved or provided for the patients who would have the furthest to travel.  I would hope the views of people in Uist are properly taken into account on this matter.

Cllr. Uisdean Robertson, chair of the Association of Uist Community Councils, commented: 

“I would like express my disappointment at the decision. The Association of community councils had met several times to discuss the matter, and their views were made quite clear and articulated in plain language to the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board.

“The sad part in all this, for my own part, is that the decision arrived at was what I expected. The views of our community are now being largely ignored by most of the agencies that deal with us.”

 

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