Peterhead Councillor Highlights 1000s of Energy Vouchers Still to be Redeemed

>> 17 February 2023

SNP councillor for Peterhead North and Rattray Leeann McWhinnie is highlighting that around one in five households with prepayment gas and electricity meters have not redeemed their energy rebate vouchers. PayPoint sent out hundreds of thousands of vouchers in November under the UK Government’s support scheme.

But the prepayment vouchers are only valid for 90 days – meaning those issued in November have now expired. Almost one in five households in Scotland use prepayment meters for their gas or electricity. Most households will have £400 automatically taken off their electricity bills in six instalments or will have the money added to their accounts. However, those on traditional prepayment meters need the vouchers to get the discount. PayPoint said that 79 per cent of customers have so far redeemed their December vouchers, which have a deadline of March 8.

Customers who have not yet redeemed their January vouchers have until April 9.

Commenting, Clle Leeann McWhinnie said:

“I’m concerned that people may miss out on support available to them at this time of financial pressures on family budgets. The uncashed vouchers may be due to unopened mail or perhaps being overlooked during the Christmas and New Year period.

“Constituents can check with their energy suppliers using the contact details found on bills, statements and official websites. Alternatively, people may contact if there are any difficulties getting through to suppliers or resolving issues. The team can be contacted on 0808 196 8660 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), or through“

Conor Forbes, Policy Director with Advice Direct Scotland, said:

“With energy prices still incredibly high, and the cold winter weather continuing, it’s vital that households get all the support they’re entitled to.

“We would urge any households in Scotland who have a prepayment meter to check whether you have been sent a voucher and use it before it expires.

“It’s concerning that so many people have not redeemed their November vouchers and we don’t want to see a similar situation when December’s vouchers expire next month.

“If haven’t received your vouchers, you should immediately get in touch with your energy supplier or Advice Direct Scotland’s expert advisers.”


Fraserburgh Councillor Condemns Voter Suppression Rules

Fraserburgh and District SNP councillor Seamus Logan has condemned the Conservative UK Government over new election rules which will make it more difficult to vote in a UK General Election.

Cllr Logan is a member of the Grampian Valuation Joint Board, which scrutinises the work of the Electoral Registration Office for the North-east. A recent Board meeting heard of the obstacles which voters will now have to overcome in order to cast their vote in a Westminster election. Those who do not possess photographic ID will need to apply for a little-known document called a Voter Authority Certificate and show it at the Polling Station in order to vote.

The SNP has hit out at the Tories over their efforts to restrict the voting franchise after it was revealed only 10,000 people in the UK have applied for government-issued voter ID.

It means only around 0.5% of those who may need the document have obtained the suitable form of ID required to vote in UK Parliamentary elections across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Government research has found that up to 2 million people currently lack photo ID that has a recognisable picture of them, as is required under the new law.

Commenting, Cllr Seamus Logan said:

"This has been rushed out, all with little or no public information. It seems the Tories are desperate to alter future election results in their favour by suppressing entitled voters. These numbers make it crystal clear that the Tories haven’t done enough to inform people of these changes, and that their dodgy strategy is working so far.

“Donald Trump tried similar vote suppression tactics in the USA aimed at disenfranchising the poorest people in society. It’s a disgrace, a further stain on the UK Government and an attack on democracy by the Tories.

“The SNP Scottish Government has done the opposite, instead increasing the franchise to deliver full voting rights in Scottish elections to 16- and 17-year-olds, refugees and foreign nationals with leave to remain.

“The Tories would do well to follow that lead if they have a shred of respect for basic democratic principles and the right to vote.

“As we’ve seen through their efforts to block Scotland having a say over its future, the endemic sleaze and corruption within the Tories at Westminster, and now their efforts to restrict the franchise, this is not a UK Government that respects democracy. Scotland must be able to escape and assume the full powers of independence.”

Details of how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate may be found here:


Cruden SNP Burns Night Success

>> 13 February 2023

Cruden Bay, Hatton & Longhaven SNP branch held their 2023 Burns Supper in the Public Hall, Longhaven on Saturday.

The Burns Supper heard speeches from locals and visitors, including an Immortal Memory by Gordon MP Richard Thomson, a Toast to Scotland by former North-east MSP Maureen Watt, with recitations from Malcolm Fleming, and the Address to the Haggis being made by Ellon and District councillor Louise McAllister

Cllr Louise McAllister; Maureen Watt; Gillian Martin MSP;
Richard Thomson MP; Malcolm Fleming; and Kirsty Watson
East Aberdeenshire MSP Gillian Martin, who compered the evening, said:

“Our SNP Branch in Cruden Bay, Hatton & Longhaven always organise a very high quality Burns Supper with a very good local attendance.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Richard Thomson and Maureen Watt as the guest speakers for the evening. Both Maureen and Richard gave highly entertaining speeches which also taught us something about Burns himself, as a good Burns Supper contribution should.

“I’m delighted to see this event go from strength-to-strength, now in its 23rd year.”


Aberdeenshire Opposition Group Propose Council Tax Increase to Protect Services

>> 9 February 2023

Aberdeenshire Council today met to set the council tax rate for 2023/24. Councillors will meet again on 9th March to set the full revenue budget for the year ahead.

The main Opposition Group, made up of SNP and independent Councillors, today proposed a 6% increase, which would equate to a rise of £6.70 per month for those in band D properties.

The conservative-led administration proposed a rise of 4%. The difference between the two proposals was £2.33 per month.

Commenting, Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Gwyneth Petrie (SNP) said:

“We fully understand how difficult the cost of living crisis is for our constituents just now and so we realise that any rise will be hard for some. That is why we plan to outline proposals to help those specifically struggling with a council tax increase, where they are not covered by any of the exemptions.

“Unfortunately, however, councils are also feeling the bite of the huge increase in inflation, and the fallout from the disastrous economic mismanagement of the Tories at Westminster. Everything we do now costs more and so, despite an increase in our grant from the Scottish Government, it simply doesn’t cover what the council has previously delivered.

“For those in Band D properties, the 6% would have meant a weekly increase of £1.55, and overall this percentage would have added a further £4.6 million to the council’s budget. This would have allowed us to avoid some of the deepest frontline cuts, ensuring we can continue to deliver on our priorities.

“We do not make these decisions lightly, but without further resources coming down the line from Westminster, we must continue to make difficult decisions, and our focus will always remain on protecting the most vulnerable.”

Cllr Alison Evison (Ind), seconding the amendment added:

“We have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce the pressures on essential services. What we can do is very limited, but it is our communities across Aberdeenshire which will suffer if we cannot deliver on the broad well-being agenda and continue the work to tackle poverties and inequalities. We know too that the decision we make today will have an impact on the budget we have in future years. Our proposal will raise the council tax base on an ongoing basis, thus doing what we can to strengthen council finances for the longer term.”


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