News - Naidheachdan

20 September 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has written to the Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP, to ask what consideration can be given to a “motorhome levy”, the proceeds of which could be used to improve local infrastructure according to local priorities.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“It has been a fantastic thing for our local economies in the Western Isles that we have had record numbers of tourists visiting here and enjoying our island hospitality. However, this success has brought its own set of problems and it is readily apparent that our infrastructure has not been able to keep up with demand.

“The numbers of motorhomes using island ferry routes has shot up nearly tenfold over the last decade and issues associated with motorhomes have been repeatedly brought up. There is a lack of suitable sites for them, a lack of waste disposal units and the extra space that they require on the ferries has contributed to the capacity problems we have seen over the summer. While there has been substantial and welcomed investment by the Scottish Government in new and larger ferries we need to recognise the continued pressure on local people trying to travel in the busy summer months.

“Motorhomes play an important part in our tourist economy and this should not be about making motorhome visitors feel unwelcome. They are welcome. This is about recognising the pressures created on infrastructure by such a rapid growth in tourism and providing communities with a new source of funding that they can direct as they see fit.”

 

19 September 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday [Monday] saw for himself the progress being made at the Harris Marina Hub when he visited the pontoons in Tarbert.

The project has seen two sets of complementary pontoons constructed: one at Tarbert and the other at Scalpay’s North Harbour.

Some £1,350,000 of funding has been secured including £300,000 from the Scottish Government-administered Coastal Communities Fund and £600,000 from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“It’s really fantastic to see the Harris Marina Hub now taking shape and being so close to completion.

“The project will bring much-needed economic benefit to the local economy while helping to market the whole of the Western Isles as an attractive place for yachting and tourist activity.

“Those on the steering group who have made this project a reality have put in a huge amount of hard work and dedication over the years and it is great to see their labour now bearing fruit.”

15 September 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan attended a cookery event held by Smart Energy GB in the Scottish Parliament yesterday aimed at highlighting the benefits of smart meters to people across Scotland.

Alasdair Allan joined fellow MSPs to watch Liam MacDonough, Executive Chef in the Scottish Parliament, cook up a special energy saving recipe that he developed to demonstrate that cooking locally sourced, fresh meals for your family doesn’t need to be expensive. With a serving for four people costing just 5p in energy, the stir-fried chicken noodles with spinach dish is a quick, cost-effective meal and, as Alasdair Allan can attest, very tasty too.

A smart meter was used to measure the energy costs of cooking the dish, displaying the results in pounds and pence on a digital display.

The demonstration was part of Food & Drink Fortnight, run by Scotland Food & Drink. The recipe was also served in the Scottish Parliament restaurant that day, with Smart Energy GB staff on hand to give energy saving advice to MSPs.

Amongst those who haven’t upgraded to smart meters yet, the appetite to get one installed soon is also high. Almost half (49 per cent) of those in Great Britain who don’t have a smart meter yet would like to have one installed in the next six months. Smart meters are also an important motivator when it comes to behaviour change and reducing energy waste at home, with eight in ten (80 per cent) of people with a smart meter having already taken steps to reduce their energy use.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“If you’re cooking at home without a smart meter, you won’t know how much energy you’re using and how much it’s costing you. Through watching the cookery demonstration, I was delighted to see first-hand how smart meters will give us all much more control of what we spend on gas and electricity, and finally put an end to estimated bills.

“I would encourage people in the Western Isles to call their energy supplier today and ask for an appointment to get their own smart meter fitted.”

Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, commented:

“Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is an excellent opportunity to celebrate what we have here in Scotland and to understand why the country has earned the reputation as a Land of Food and Drink. There are so many different ways to get involved, whether that's by changing just one thing about the way you interact with Scottish produce or cooking up delicious recipes using fresh, local ingredients and very little energy!"

Smart meters bring everyone in the Western Isles, and across the rest of Scotland and Great Britain accurate bills. They also mean that you can see, for the first time, exactly how much energy you are using in pounds and pence, and in near real time. The inconvenient prepayment system will also be completely revolutionised for the many people currently using these meters.

Contact your energy supplier today about getting your smart meter installed.

 

12 September 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has warned that the EU withdrawal bill, passed by the House of Commons last night, represents a threat to devolution.  

Earlier today, the Scottish Government made clear that it would not recommend the Scottish Parliament give its consent to the EU withdrawal bill, unless substantial amendments were made.

Alasdair Allan MSP, who serves in the Scottish Government as Minister for Europe, commented:

“Like many people in Scotland, I campaigned and voted for the Scottish Parliament to be re-established. That was the settled will of the Scottish people. Since then, we have operated under the principle that whatever is not reserved to Westminster is devolved to Scotland.

“For the first time, a UK Government has put forward proposals that would break this principle. The UK Government’s EU withdrawal bill, in the form it was passed in the House of Commons last night, presents a direct threat to grab powers back to Westminster which are presently devolved to Scotland in areas like agriculture, fisheries and the environment. That has a direct impact on who makes crucial decisions for areas like the Western Isles where crofting and fishing are important.

“There was a rare moment of consensus in the Parliament today when all the parties recognised the Scottish Government’s concerns on this issue and on the need to work together to get the legislation into acceptable shape. Without change, the Scottish Parliament made clear today it will not vote to give its assent to the UK Bill going through.”

 

12 September 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan had his name engraved on a little bit of Ness history on Friday [8th September] when he bought a specially engraved brick as part of the Comunn Eachdraidh Nis “buy a brick” scheme.

The bricks were inspired by the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, which is also the logo used by CEN, and will be set around the entrance of the newly refurbished building.

The scheme is part of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis fundraising efforts to develop the former schoolhouse and canteen in addition to extending the kitchen and museum areas within the main school building.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“It was great to drop by Comunn Eachdraidh Nis and hear about the ambitious plans for the refurbishment of the buildings. This is a really innovative fundraising idea I am only too happy too support.

“Comunn Eachdraidh Nis is a fantastic asset and resource for the community in North Lewis. The organisation has done huge amounts of work to record and preserve the history, language and culture of the area and I am glad to see growing demand for it to deliver more.

“I hope others will also consider getting their own engraved brick and I look forward to seeing the buildings when they are refurbished.”

 

12 September 2017

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed todays’ announcement from Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, of plans to stabilise and improve the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payment process.

The plan will include measures such as providing a clear payment schedule for schemes to help crofters and farmers plan ahead, launching a loan scheme for those eligible for 2017 Basic Payment Scheme, operating a reliable IT platform that meets expectations and setting out customer service standards and more effective communication processes.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“Everyone, including the Government, acknowledges that there were unacceptable delays in CAP payments over the last two years. I am pleased to hear the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment to tackle the causes of poor customer service and provide a more certain timetable for future payments. I believe today’s announcement will go a long way to ensuring the last of the late payments are made and that better arrangements are place for the future.

“This is an issue I have taken up with the Government on behalf of many individual crofters and I would urge anyone who has had issues to contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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