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24 June 2016

Stevenson Comments on EU Referendum Result

Commenting on the EU Referendum result, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Scotland has shown clearly that, as a nation, it wishes to remain part of the European Union.

“That is not to say that we agree the EU is perfect: it is not. But where we have been let down in Europe in the past, for example in fishing negotiations, is because we have had no-one sitting at the table speaking for Scotland’s fishermen.

“The SNP has long called for the return of control over fishing resources to our fishing communities. In the turmoil which we are now facing, it’s important the UK Government does not overlook these vital interests.

“With the prospect of exit from the EU now a reality, there will be a lot of people asking themselves what happens next. For our farmers, the question of subsidy payments will be a key issue and I am not at all confident a UK Government will seek to continue these in the present form.

“For business, such as food processing, the question of what happens to key workers who are EU nationals will be fundamental.

“For individuals, the prospect of having to apply for visas to go on holiday in Europe – and a whole raft of other issues – is important.

“It is clear that a referendum on independence – should that be the wish of the people of Scotland – and a subsequent yes vote, would maintain many of the competitive advantages Scotland has enjoyed with EU membership and would, for the first time, actually give us the driving seat to shape our own agenda in Europe.”

21 June 2016

Local MSP Calls for a Sustainable Oil and Gas Future

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for UK support for the oil and gas industry.

Mr Stevenson called for investment and exploration in the North Sea. He went on to stress need to retain skills from the sector and the dangers of fracking during an economy debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Exploration levels in the oil and gas sector currently sit at an all-time low. Recent projections for 2016 estimating half the number of exploration wells compared to 2015.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“There is still huge potential for investment in the oil and gas sector. A third of our oil remains in the North Sea and that is without any new discoveries. Oil is still being found, as evidenced by the massive Johan Sverdrup field, discovered a few years ago in the Norwegian area of the sea.

“Equally, there was an opportunity to transfer the skills of those in the north-east to sustainable renewable technology. UK Conservative Government policy has denied this. The decision to remove investment in renewable energy industries has been particularly damaging to the prospects of employment of those in the north-east.

“Today the Conservative amendment sought to impress the idea that fracking was an easy alternative. The answer is not fracking. What the Conservatives choose to ignore is the damage that any such action might have.

“We can learn from the experience of the United States on this. Their experience indicates that people are exposed to known carcinogens, deadly lung disease and a general decline in health. While the US Environmental Protection Agency reports that there is uncertainty, research does show that there are 12.2 spills for every 100 wells, spills reach surface water in 9% of cases and caused contaminated soil in 64%.

“The risks involved without sufficient information on fracking remain too great. As such it remains vital that we continue to push the UK Government on its support for the offshore oil and gas sector. We need to encourage exploration in the North Sea Basin and investment in renewable energies.”

Local MSP Challenges Conservatives on Policy Incoherence

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson challenged Conservatives to acknowledge their incoherence on civil liberties.

Mr Stevenson delivered the challenge to Liz Smith MSP while in Parliament during a debate on the Scottish Government “Named Person” policy.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“The Conservative position is a smoke screen.

“It is disturbing that Conservatives seek to paint the ‘Named Person’ policy as having a significant impact on where parents stand in relation to their child’s named person. The highest court in the Scotland has stated that there is no effect on the legal, moral or social relationship within the family.

“The Named Person policy is there if and when families need it. If they do, they have a statutory right to approach someone for answers and support for their children. Parents cannot be compelled to accept advice or support.

“If the Conservatives were really worried about civil liberties, they would have resolutely opposed the actions of the UK Tory Government to pass the ‘Investigatory Powers Bill.’ This act will have far reaching consequences, the very least being that the UK Tory Government will be allowed to gather information on the medical records of everyone in the UK and on Children’s activities.

“Their opposition appears more motivated by the ideological opposition to investing in public services rather than a concern for anything else. The fact that Ms Smith parried my question shows the reality of the Conservative position.”
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