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22 August 2017

Business Growth Accelerator Good for Enterprise, says MSP

The Barclay Report has recommended the creation of a Business Growth Accelerator following its review published today.

It would mean a 12-month delay before rates apply for a new build property and a delay in increasing rates for expansion or improvements to an existing property.

Commenting on the proposal, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The far-reaching recommendations of the Barclay report include a number of considerations for the Scottish Government.

“The SNP has long been passionate about supporting enterprise and this could encourage new start-up businesses as well as helping already established firms to improve their office space.

“The downturn in oil and gas has created an opportunity for diversification and many smaller businesses have set-up. This will allow them a leeway while they build up their businesses.”

18 August 2017

It’s time for Parliaments to do more on Brexit says MSP Stevenson

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for a multi-parliament “grand committee” to process legislation in the Brexit negotiation process.

The SNP representative has suggested it’s time for Parliaments to seek a shared position on a post EU-framework.

It would mean the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales would be able to put forward their views in a cross-party committee which would allow them to contribute to legislation with Westminster.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said: :

“Mrs May and her Westminster Government will be responsible for putting legislation on the table which will fundamentally change the future of the UK.

“As in Holyrood, hard graft of detailed examination and amendment will take place in a parliamentary committee.

“The UK Government is going to have to take account for and explain their policy decisions with the backing of all the political parties.

“Now is the time to involve the devolved nations of the UK even further and I am calling for a cross-parliaments committee, essentially an EU Legislation Grand Committee – to take the Bill and related
Bills, forward.

“How can Westminster ask for the full support of the devolved nations for a complex act which other Parliaments have played no part in?

“We are currently faced with no real understanding of what “type of Brexit” we will face and the challenge is now for democracy to keep evolving or this whole process is going to fail.”

15 August 2017

MSP Writes To Retailers Over Low Scottish Lamb Stocks On Shelves

A North-East MSP has written to two leading supermarket chains after a shelf watch study undertaken by members of the National Farming Union (NFU) revealed 11% of lamb on sale is imported.

A report by the NFU found almost all of the imported meat was found on Asda and Tesco shelves.

The percentage is in stark contrast to a previous study conducted the same time last year which found only 3% of fresh lamb on Scottish supermarket shelves was imported at the time.

It was also revealed in the same study last year that 97% of lamb was clearly labelled as Scottish or British lamb.

Now, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Tesco and Asda calling for them to support Scottish farmers.

In a letter to the chief executive of Tesco David Lewis and the Asda’s chief executive Sean Clarke, Mr Stevenson said:

“As you will be aware, this week sees the start of the annual Scotch Lamb
promotional campaign which lasts for one month and promotes the quality and provenance of this excellent product.

“It was therefore disappointing to receive the results of the NFUS survey, particularly when most of the other retailers involved seemed to be able to stock a much higher ratio of Scotch Lamb to other lamb, with Lidl and Aldi achieving 100% in this regard.

“My constituency is one of the foremost livestock-producing areas in the country and the support of retailers is vital to ensuring the success of the industry. I should be grateful to learn whether your
company will be taking any steps to increase the amount of Scotch Lamb stocked in Scottish stores.”

The study carried out by NFU Scotland surveyed 46 supermarket stores across Scotland, looking at fresh lamb offerings.

The results showed an 89% commitment to lamb produced in Scotland and the UK up from 44% in April this year.

But it was down from 97% in August 2016.

In Asda a total of 656 packs counted revealed only 21 were Scottish, 417 British while there were 200 from New Zealand and 18 from Australia.

The stores visited were in Perth, Huntly, Aberdeen, Peterhead, Dyce, Linwood, Fraserburgh and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile in Tesco of 551 packets, a total of 245 were Scottish, 190 were British, and 116 were from New Zealand.

The stores visited were Perth, Turriff, Fraserburgh, Ellon, Huntly, Inverurie and Linwood.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The success of farmers relies on the support of retailers to ensure the success of the industry.

“My constituency in particular is one of the key livestock-producing areas and needs the backing of supermarkets like Asda and Tesco in order to continue.

“The figures, down from last year, are discouraging and I look forward to hearing from Tesco and Asda with regards to how they plan to resolve this issue.”
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