Brain Tumour Research and Care

On Friday I was pleased to attend a meeting in Aberdeen in support of local members of the Friends of the Neuro Ward Aberdeen.   Despite having raised substantial amounts of money to help improve the ward (the last one in ARI to be refurbished) they were frustrated to learn that it has yet again been put back. 

Read more here.

Human Rights and The European Convention

The European Convention on Human Rights is not actually something that comes from our membership of the European Union but it still seems to get dragged into the debate just the same.  When the Home Secretary made a speech saying that the UK should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights I applied for, and was granted, an Urgent Question by the Speaker.   

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Rural Broadband Consultation

Last week saw the government publish its proposals about how it will define the Universal Service Obligation for Broadband rollout.

They propose guaranteeing a service for 95% of the country so somewhat less than universal!   Inevitably I fear that a chunk of that remaining 5% will be in the isles.  It is an unacceptable position and I shall continue to pursue it with ministers.  The obligation will not be available for anyone until 2020 so there is still time for a change of heart.

Oil And Gas Action.

I was pleased to see that the Chair, Chief Executive and all board members of the recently established Oil and Gas Authority visited Shetland to see for themselves how the industry works here and what it means to the local community.   It was a visit I had urged them to make some months ago and I was pleased that they came.   

Read more here.

EE Network Turns On 4G in Kirkwall, with other areas in the pipeline.

The last digital forum heard promises of service improvements in the Northern Isles by mobile phone provider EE.  This was on the back of commitments secured from the companies by the last coalition government.   These have now started to happen - there will be more to follow.

Read more here.

Renewables In The Isles

Still on the energy beat, this time on renewable energy, I was disappointed by the minister's response to my question about the "islands strike price" at Energy Questions this week.  

Read more here

BBC Charter Renewal

The last day of the parliamentary session (the new one starts next Wednesday with the Queen's Speech) saw the publication of proposals from the government to overhaul how the BBC is managed and funded. From now on those watching BBC programmes on-demand will be required to have a TV Licence. Having said that I am pleased that the Licence Fee will not rise above inflation until 2021-22. I also think there is some merit in the idea that Ofcom will now have much more teeth in its role as the independent regulator of the BBC.  The White Paper is found here.