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19 August 2015

Stevenson Welcomes £260,000 for Aberdeenshire Schools

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast is welcoming £260,000 of funding announced today (Wednesday) for Aberdeenshire to improve the learning environment in our schools and allow for greater partnership working between schools and colleges.

The money from the Inspiring Learning Spaces fund will be used to remodel four classrooms to create innovative teaching and learning environments that are flexible and motivating.

Mr Stevenson said:

“This latest funding underlines the SNP government’s commitment to ensuring every child receives a world class education and will create the modern and creative new learning spaces we need to achieve this.

“The SNP already has a strong record of delivery on schools - since 2007, the 520 schools across Scotland have been built or refurbished.

“But we know that we need to do more to ensure every child has an equal chance to succeed – that’s why the First Minister has made closing the educational attainment gap a priority. If re-elected in 2016, the SNP will continue to build on our strong record on education and will deliver in the face of harsh Westminster cuts.”

The Inspiring Learning Spaces fund encourages the creation of spaces for flexible learning and allows closer partnerships between schools and further education, in line with Curriculum for Excellence.

The fund complements the £1.8 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme.

Whiteford and Stevenson Press UK Government on Potential State Aid Rules Breach

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford, and Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson have written to the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Business, following the UK Government’s involvement in a reported offer of £1.34m in funding to Young’s Seafood’s Grimsby site.

It has recently emerged that North Lincolnshire Council had worked with the UK Government to devise a £1.34 million funding package to persuade the company to move jobs from Scotland to Grimsby. It is understood that the money comes from unused cash in the area’s Regional Growth Fund. However, Scottish politicians were quick to cast doubt on the funding package, highlighting European Union State Aid rules which place strict limits on the direct financial support governments can offer to companies.

Dr Whiteford and Mr Stevenson have now written to the UK Government’s Sajid Javid, the responsible minister, asking him to publish greater detail about the offer and clarify if the UK Government has sought advice on whether the funding would breach state aid rules.

Eilidh Whiteford said:

“It’s of paramount importance that Fraserburgh be in no way disadvantaged in this process. The reported offer of £1.34 million is lacking in detail and in the context of what we know about state aid rules, would appear highly dubious.”

“In the interests of transparency, I hope the Minister will disclose to me and to the wider public, exactly what this deal would entail. Meantime, I remain actively involved with the Scottish Government and its partners in making the most compelling case for the company to retain the skilled staff at Fraserburgh.”

Stewart Stevenson added:

“The Scottish Government is doing everything in its power to keep jobs in Fraserburgh. I, and my SNP colleagues, will continue to fight for these jobs, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that Fraserburgh is best placed to take Young’s forward as a successful business.”

“It is astonishing that, to date, I have yet to be contacted by any UK Government representative or official to offer assistance in maintaining employment in Fraserburgh. Instead, their focus appears to have been on providing an incentive for a business to move jobs out of Scotland and into England. The Minister has some serious questions to answer and I await his response with interest.”

17 August 2015

Stevenson Congratulates Local Businesses Nominated for Tourism Awards

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has congratulated a handful of local businesses and groups that have been shortlisted in the 2015 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA).

Durn House, Portsoy
Across Banffshire and Buchan Coast, those shortlisted include Durn House, Portsoy for Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House; High Seas Hobbits in Fraserburgh for Best Holiday Accommodation; Buchanhaven Heritage Society in Peterhead and The Spotty Bag Shop in Banff for Tourism; and Macduff Marine Aquarium in Macduff for Best Visitor Attraction.

The nominees across 14 categories will face a further round of judging before the winners are revealed at an awards ceremony later this year.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Tourism is a very important part of the local economy and I am delighted to see so many from our area being recognised for their efforts. I wish each one of these businesses and groups all the very best in the finals.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and dinner to take place on November 27 at the Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.
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