29 November 2015

Energy Expert: CCS Cancellation a "Kick in the Teeth"


Leading energy industry expert Dick Winchester has criticised the Tory government after the Chancellor withdrew a £1 billion grant for long-planned Carbon Capture and Storage scheme in Peterhead. The comments from Mr Winchester, a renowned industry voice who served on Scotland’s Energy Advisory Board, reinforces criticism by senior SNP figures in recent days, including Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP and constituency members for Peterhead – Stewart Stevenson MSP and Eilidh Whiteford MP.

The Conservative Party made a manifesto commitment to deliver the £1 billion project ahead of May’s General Election.

The shock announcement in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, was not communicated in advance to the Scottish Government – as confirmed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in response to a parliamentary question from Stewart Stevenson on Thursday. This is in spite of the project being set to create some 600 jobs in the North East of Scotland and having already reached an advanced planning stage by developer Shell.

Commenting on the decision, Dick Winchester said:

“The successful demonstration of large scale carbon capture technology in Scotland could have been the catalyst to the development of a whole new Scottish industrial sector able to export services and hardware into what is a huge global market. In addition, the medium term potential for the Scottish chemical industry to build a product portfolio from recycled CO2 would have been immense.

“The cancellation of the Peterhead project is therefore not just an immediate kick in the teeth but it removes an opportunity to both grow and broaden out the Scottish economy. That’s really unforgiveable.”

Welcoming the intervention, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Dick Winchester has significant experience in the global energy sector and his words chime with those of people in the North East and across Scotland who are rightly angry at the Tory chancellor pulling the plug on this crucial investment.

“George Osborne has swindled Scotland out of £1 billion – a fact that will certainly not be forgotten in a hurry by my constituents.

“At the end of the day, this is a huge opportunity missed to create some 600 jobs in the community and to help Scotland make significant strides towards becoming the global leader in innovative technology to cut carbon emissions.

“The UK government is making a name for itself – for all the wrong reasons – in its treatment of Scotland’s energy sector. This week we saw a sneering Chancellor make light of job losses in the North Sea while he continues to do nothing to incentivise exploration and new development in the industry.

“The bonus billion we were promised for Peterhead was, it seems, just a bogus billion from the Tories. And with mounting criticism from senior industry figures, the Chancellor’s position on Scottish energy is an utter disgrace.”

27 November 2015

MSP Commends YouthLink Initiative

Young people from across Scotland have been delivering a National Call to Action to their local MSPs. In a Holyrood manifesto launch with young people at the heart of it, Scotland’s National Youth Work Agency, YouthLink Scotland has called for further investment in the youth work sector as part of the drive to close the educational attainment gap.

Hundreds of young people from youth work projects and organisations across the country have been meeting their local MSPs and MPs and telling their own stories about the benefit of youth work.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson met with local Sea Scout Kyle Buchan as part of YouthLink’s initiative.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I commend the work YouthLink are doing in building the process of engagement between young people and their elected representatives across all parties.

“It was a pleasure to meet with Sea Scout Kyle Buchan, who kindly took time out to be part of the YouthLink scheme and meet with myself. The Sea Scouts are a tremendous organisation who do a lot of excellent work with young people, giving them lots of opportunities to do activities and develop skills so I was delighted YouthLink has chosen the Sea Scouts to engage with me.”

Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland, Jim Sweeney said:

“Our biggest asset is the young people we work with and I am delighted that so many young people have had the opportunity to deliver their own personal youth work story to their local politicians. We need to, each one of us, do all in our power to make sure youth work is valued and properly funded in every local area as youth work really does change lives.”

Closing the Educational Attainment gap is a key political priority, the youth work sector works with around 380,000 young people each week and has a key and valuable contribution to make, by supporting young people to learn and achieve in non-formal spaces and times.

Youth work needs financial investment. The youth work sector is experiencing a decline in core and project funding, and cycles of short term funding make it difficult to plan and sustain local youth work services. YouthLink Scotland members tell us regularly that politicians and other professionals must place more value on youth work.

The National Call to Action containing 14 ‘Asks’ of Scottish Politicians, also calls for a Nationwide Employer Supported Volunteering Scheme, to help boost volunteer numbers.

Over recent years there has been significant investment in the school estate so our young people can learn in 21st century spaces, the youth work sector are asking for a 3 year capital fund, in order to ensure premises and equipment across Scotland are fit for purpose and enhance informal learning.

Stevenson Shows Support for Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson is supporting international Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 1-7 December; highlighting the impact of living with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis¹, the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These are unpredictable diseases that affect more than 300,000² people in the UK and as many as 26,000 people in Scotland - a higher incidence rate than anywhere else in the UK.

National patient charity, Crohn’s and Colitis UK, have joined other international groups to raise the awareness and understanding of these complex, life-long and potentially life-threatening conditions. Living with IBD can have a huge impact on every aspect of a person’s life, with serious physical and mental health implications.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said;

“Helping increase understanding as part of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week is important to me as there will be hundreds of local people in our community who suffer from these hidden, often misunderstood and dreadful conditions. In this special week it’s particularly vital that we try and reach out to more people who may be feeling isolated or coping badly with their health.”

Living with IBD can be daily struggle, some symptoms of the diseases can be embarrassing and that can lead to people suffering without adequate support or feeling isolated. As part of the Awareness Week, Crohn’s and Colitis UK are asking people to share their 7 days of IBD and other activity through digital and social media to highlight what it is like to live with IBD every day. To find out more about the awareness week and all the activities please visit
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