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20 February 2018

MSP Backs Reforms to Scotland's Income Tax System

Low and middle income earners will be protected in the Scottish Government’s budget which will also deliver for public services and public sector workers.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the progressive reforms to Scotland’s income tax system.

It comes as Stage 3 of the Budget (Scotland) (No.2) Bill is laid before the Scottish Parliament.

There will be modest increases on high earners, while 70% of taxpayers will pay less than they did last year and 55% will pay less than the rest of the UK.

Opinion polling has found that Scots back the SNP’s tax plans by two to one.

The Budget will also deliver an additional £400million for the NHS, an expansion in childcare, more spending on broadband, extra funding for police and fire services and a pay rise for hard-working public sector employees.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“This is a budget for a stronger economy and a fairer society – with increased funding for the NHS and protection for low and middle income earners.

“The Scottish Government is delivering lower income tax for 70% of Scots, with every worker earning less than £33,000 paying less in tax next year – while protecting public services across the Banffshire and Buchan Coast that we all hold dear.

“This budget brings an additional £400 million to NHS Scotland, delivers a pay rise for public sector workers, £756 million for affordable homes, additional funding for the arts and culture sector, a £4 billion investment in infrastructure, including in superfast broadband, as well as significant investments in research, education and childcare.

“In the face of massive Westminster cuts, ongoing Tory austerity and a damaging hard Brexit – this budget provides investment to seize the opportunities of tomorrow.”

15 February 2018

MSP Welcomes Success of North-East Shop's Accolade

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has congratulated a North-East tourist shop after it achieved one of the highest Quality Assurance accolades from Visit Scotland.

The Platform, in Macduff, has achieved the prestigious five-star Tourist Shop award following its first ever grading visit.

It comes after the once former railway station was renovated into a shopping destination.

The shop offers a wide selection of gifts, home furnishings and clothing.

The Platform has also joined the VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) programme.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“My constituency is full of many hidden treasures I am delighted The Platform has been recognised by Visit Scotland.

“It is clear hard work has paid off and it is a testament to staff who are clearly very valued by their customers.

“I would like to congratulate them on achieving this award on their first grading visit and I look forward to their continued success in the future.”

Jo Robinson, Regional Director at VisitScotland said:

“The Platform is an exceptional example of a business that is working in partnership with VisitScotland – making the most of our opportunities and drawing on the impartial advice and experience to invest in and develop their business.”

9 February 2018

MSP Slams Tory Broadband Claims

MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, has slammed Tory claims that not enough is being done to improve broadband.

Mr Stevenson has pointed to figures published by Ofcom that show progress in properties accessing superfast broadband is faster in Scotland than elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Between 2014 and 2016 Scotland saw a 22% increase in the proportion of properties that can access superfast broadband compared to 14% in the UK.

Rural areas in Scotland have also seen action being taken quicker than other countries with the increase in availability of superfast broadband in rural areas being at 46% in Scotland whilst England saw an increase of 38%; Northern Ireland 29% and Wales 5%.

Further figures show that had the Scottish Government not stepped in Aberdeenshire would have seen 25% of its properties access superfast broadband whilst the current figure is actually 82%.

Mr Stevenson has also pointed to The Scottish Government’s commitment to provide 100% of residential and business premises with superfast broadband which is three times faster than the UK. A commitment which has not been matched by any other country in the UK.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“It really beggers belief that a local Tory MP is having a go at the Scottish Government despite Scotland seeing faster progress in getting superfast broadband in recent years than it is being done elsewhere in the UK.

“It is the UK which is the responsibility for digital services. However, the SNP Scottish Government have made a very bold and ambitious commitment to give 100% of premises access to superfast broadband, three times that of which the UK Government will deliver, because the UK Government are not being ambitious enough. Something I know that my constituents in Banffshire & Buchan Coast are delighted about.”

Highlighting the funding being made available for the R100 programme, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“£600 million is be provided to deliver this by the SNP and rural areas are being prioritised. What are we getting from the Tories? £20 million. This is less that Devon and Somerset are getting for a less ambitious programme.

“Instead of his usual deflection of SNP bad stories perhaps Mr Duguid and his Tory colleagues should stand up for Scotland at Westminster and address the measly funding we are getting from the UK Government as well as getting improvements made to mobile coverage for the communities of the North East of Scotland.”
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