Self-employed support scheme final round approaches – Carmichael urges businesses to apply

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called on all eligible self-employed workers in the isles to make sure that they apply for funds from the fifth and (expected) final round of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The fifth round of funding, covering May to September 2021, opens this week and will aim to replace a portion of profits lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Carmichael – FSB report suggests tourism still feeling strain of pandemic restrictions

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today responded to the Federation of Small Businesses’ July Report on tourism and hospitality recovery in the Highlands and Islands, which found that 42% of businesses in the sector are struggling to generate sales and profits and a quarter concerned about their ability to survive to 2022. The report suggests that, while allowing for a smaller sample size, Orkney and Shetland are seeing a more severe level of anxiety amongst businesses, particularly around travel restrictions and access to staff.

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Carmichael pushes for assurances on vaccine passport vote in Parliament

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Home Affairs, Alistair Carmichael, has pushed for assurances from government that a clear vote would be held before any mandatory vaccine passports were imposed on individuals and businesses. Mr Carmichael raised the issue in Parliament this week after the government suggested that it “reserved the right” to impose ID checks on businesses despite no approval having been sought from MPs. The Liberal Democrats have been trenchant critics of the vaccine passport proposals since they were first mooted earlier this year, arguing against them on a long list of practical and principled reasons.

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Ropey data used in support of government ID proposals – Carmichael

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on political reform, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out about concerns over the quality of data used to support government plans to require photo ID for all voters in future elections. Raising the matter in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael asked what assessment the Electoral Commission had made of the adequacy of data on electoral fraud used in support of Government proposals to introduce voter ID.

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Carmichael calls for Trade and Agriculture Commission to have representation from all agriculture sectors

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out in a parliamentary debate on the Trade and Agriculture Commission, calling for it to have representation from all parts of the UK and all sectors of agriculture including crofting and hill farming. The Commission, which is supposed to scrutinise and review all proposed trade deals for their potential impact on agriculture, has yet to be constituted by the government despite a trade deal with Australia already being agreed “in principle”.

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Carmichael condemns Matheson putting train company fights over protecting air traffic control

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has responded today to social media scuffles between Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson and the rail company LNER over social distancing rules on trains between England and Scotland. Mr Carmichael called on the minister to take more care over Scottish Government plans to cut air traffic control jobs from the isles rather than picking fights.

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Government doublethink on ID suggests it cares more about access to cat videos than voting rights – Carmichael

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Political Reform, Alistair Carmichael, has today condemned government “doublethink” on mandatory identification requirements. The government recently rejected a petition against mandatory voter ID, arguing that all voters should have photographic identification in order to vote. This weekend, however, it also rejected a petition calling for mandatory photo identification in order to use social media, citing the fact that “3.5 million people do not have a valid photo ID”.

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Carmichael backs crofting concerns over open-access deal with Australia

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the government over the potential impact of its open-access deal with Australian agriculture on farming and crofting communities. Mr Carmichael asked the government in Parliament what assessment it had made of the risks to farmers and crofters, and highlighted the concerns raised by the Chief Executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation about lower production standards and the potential impact on future trade negotiations with the United States.

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Banishment of EVEL welcome but roots of the problem remain – Carmichael

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Political and Constitutional Reform, Alistair Carmichael MP, has welcomed the repeal last night of “English Votes for English Laws” (EVEL), but warned that deeper reform of democracy remains vital. EVEL, a system used since 2015 whereby “English-only” matters in Parliament could only be voted on by English MPs, aimed to address the lack of devolution in England relative to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but proved deeply divisive.

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Shameful behaviour by government in forcing development cuts – Carmichael

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned the government’s “smallminded” vote to cut international development funding today. The government proposed to make a return to 0.7% GNI spending on international aid contingent on strict fiscal rules, which economists have suggested may not be met for years to come – and would only have been met once in the past 20 years. Critics, including all living former Prime Ministers, have warned that the sweeping cuts to aid will put many lives at risk due to famine and disease. The cuts break a manifesto commitment made by the Conservatives and all major parties in the last election. Former minister Damien Green has suggested that the vote was won through job offers to Conservative MPs.

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