Isles representatives secure action from Ofgem

Isles representatives Beatrice Wishart MSP and Alistair Carmichael have secured a commitment that Ofgem will look into poor practices from energy providers.

Ms Wishart and Mr Carmichael met with the energy regulator today to present further evidence from constituents frustrated by poor customer service, inconsistent access to competitive tariffs and price hikes in the past few years. Ofgem agreed to look into the concerns raised, and reiterated that all customers must be treated equally and have a right to switch regardless of their meter. The parliamentarians have welcomed Ofgem willingness to investigate matters but have warned this must not be “a token gesture”.

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Wishart responds to R100 contract announcement

Responding to the news that BT has signed a contract to deliver the North Lot of the Scottish Government’s R100 programme, Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said:

“This is welcome news that brings some more certainty to the rollout of superfast broadband in Shetland. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made this digital divide all the more obvious. Lack of reliable internet access is hampering the ability for islanders to keep connected, whether for learning, socialising or accessing services.

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Childcare entitlement deadline pushed to August 2021

Responding to the announcement that the statutory duty to deliver 1140 hours of funded ELC will not come into effect until August 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:

"The pandemic has disrupted all aspects of our lives but this government cannot use it as an excuse to kick the can down the road on major commitments. There will be no recovery without properly funded and supported childcare."

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Wishart seeks urgent update on Air Discount Scheme

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart is seeking an urgent update on future of the Air Discount Scheme.

Ms Wishart has written to the Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, to seek an urgent update on continuation of the Air Discount Scheme (ADS). In March 2019 ADS was renewed until 31 December 2020 but no announcement has been made about the future of the scheme past that date.

ADS was introduced in 2006 by the then Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Tavish Scott, recognising the high cost of air travel for islanders.  

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Wishart pushes for financial support for lifeline transport services

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today pushed the Scottish Government to deliver full funding for Shetland’s internal ferry services and bring forward “real plans” for fixed links.

During Transport questions this afternoon Ms Wishart noted that since 2018 the Scottish Government has failed to deliver on its commitment to fair funding for internal ferry services in the Northern Isles. In the last budget, Shetland Islands Council received only £5.2 million of the £9.49 million revenue funding needed to deliver ferry services. Ms Wishart pushed the government on when it will deliver the full funding needed for the lifeline services.

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More ambition needed on deferred nursery places

Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has called on the Scottish Government to bring forward more ambitious legislation to secure the rights of parents who want to defer their child starting school.

Following the campaign run by ‘Give them Time’, the Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd agreed on the need for legislation to guarantee funded ELC for August to December-born children who defer starting school, however legislation presented this week would only introduce this entitlement from August 2023.

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Wishart responds to exam cancellation

Responding to news that Scotland’s exam diet for 2021 will be cancelled, Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Beatrice Wishart said:

 “I’m pleased the Education Secretary has finally made the decision to cancel next year’s exams. It’s been clear for some time that pupils wouldn’t have an equal shot at success. Pupils across the country have had a vastly difference experience of education this term. Some haven’t missed any days in school but others have had the disruption of having to self-isolate several times.

“We saw earlier this year how frustrating late guidance and poor communication is for teachers and pupils. Hard work is needed from government, SQA and Education Scotland to get all the necessary procedures and advice on the assessment model in place for the start of the new term at the latest. The awarding process must guarantee fairness for all learners and teachers must be included and informed throughout.”

Wishart supports local businesses on small business Saturday

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart visited local businesses at the weekend to support Small Business Saturday. Ms Wishart is encouraging shoppers to buy local if they can to support small businesses in Shetland.

Small Business Saturday is a national campaign to highlight the success of small business and to encourage consumers to shop local to support their communities.

Ms Wishart visited craft beer producer Lerwick Brewery, the UK’s most northerly brewery and Island Fish Shetland, which opened its shop last year.

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Islanders advised to choose between a Christmas ‘bubble’ and household visiting

National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, has today advised that islanders should “choose” between forming a Christmas ‘bubble’ and indoor household visiting with others.

Professor Leitch was responding to a question at Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee today from Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Referring to the communication of public messaging around the guidance, Ms Wishart highlighted constituent correspondence on the lack of clarity in government guidance for the Christmas period of 23-27 December. Ms Wishart asked whether people in Level 1 areas can have a festive ‘bubble’ arrangement and continue indoor household visiting with others outside that bubble.  

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Alarm bells should be ringing at Ofgem after isles meeting – Carmichael and Wishart

Isles representatives Alistair Carmichael MP and Beatrice Wishart MSP have called on energy regulator Ofgem to take a more “proactive” approach to supporting energy customers in the isles after a meeting this week. Mr Carmichael and Ms Wishart presented a range of evidence from constituents frustrated by poor customer service, inconsistent access to competitive tariffs and price hikes in the past few years. The isles team agreed to share their full set of evidence with Ofgem ahead of a second meeting in the coming weeks but warned that there should be “alarm bells” at the regulator given the range of problems identified.

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