McArthur Praises Home Start Orkney In Parliamentary Debate
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McArthur Seeks See Me
Champions For Orkney
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Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, has given his support to a Parliamentary motion congratulating the winners of the BBC 2 Young Folk Award 2008, Jeana Leslie from Orkney and her musical partner, Siobhan Miller, and the winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2008 Award, Ewan Robertson. The motion celebrates the achievement of these young Scottish musicians, noting that Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller had to compete in a strong UK-wide field. It also recognises the role of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where both study, in the development of traditional Scottish music. Commenting on the awards, Liam McArthur said, "Scotland's traditional musicians make excellent ambassadors, taking Scotland's music around the world. And, of course, within Scotland, Orkney punches above its weight when it comes to traditional music, as Jeana's success shows. She deserves congratulations for her success. I am pleased that it is being recorded in Parliament through this motion which I was delighted to support. There have recently been concerns that inadequate funding support for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama is putting the future of its traditional music courses at risk, with a threat that they would be downgraded. I am sure that both Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller have benefited from their time at the RSAMD. It is important that, in future, others can get the same help so that other young Orcadian musicians can follow in Jeana's footsteps as award winning musical ambassadors for Orkney."
Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the news that the EU plans to introduce an electronic identification system for sheep have been postponed until the end of 2009. But he has stressed that the breathing space this brings must be used either to find a workable and affordable system, which could be used on the Scottish hills, or to win a derogation from the rule for hill sheep farmers.
Commenting on the news, Liam McArthur said, "This is very welcome news. The case made by the NFUS, that there was no electronic identification system available for sheep which would be practical to use on a typical Scottish sheep farm, was a strong case. It is excellent that that has been accepted, at least for the moment. If, before the end of 2009, a workable and affordable system can be developed, then it would be acceptable to introduce it at the beginning of 2010. But the Government must make it quite clear that, without a practical and affordable system, Scottish sheep farmers must be granted a derogation from the rule. It would be no more acceptable in 2010, than it was in 2008, to impose, on Scottish farmers, a system which is not workable or which is unaffordable."
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has met with SSE to discuss their plans for installing so-called ‘smart meters’ to households and microbusinesses in Orkney. Under requirements introduced by the previous UK coalition government, all energy suppliers will be required to complete this work on behalf of their customers by 2020 at the latest. The installations will be carried out free of charge and any industry savings, for example, from a reduced need for meter readers and estimated bills, will also be passed on to the customer. While some companies have already begun their roll out, SSE have confirmed to Mr McArthur that they do not intend starting before 2016, and the indications are that rural and island areas such as Orkney will be covered towards the end of the four year period.
“Smart meters have the potential to improve the accuracy of customer bills, doing away with the need for ‘estimates’ that are often wildly inaccurate. They will also allow households and businesses to monitor more closely the energy they are using, thereby opening up opportunities for greater energy efficiency. “I am concerned, therefore, that Orkney looks set to be at the back of the queue for this roll out. Given how high bills are for island customers compared to counterparts on the mainland, and our appalling levels of fuel poverty, the case for introducing smart meters in Orkney as early as possible seems to be a compelling one. “SSE agreed to take these points on board as they develop their plans over the coming year. No firm dates have yet been set for beginning their smart meter roll out, but I will continue to make the case to SSE that households and businesses in Orkney deserve early attention”.
2017 Liam McArthur MSP for Orkney