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17 January 2019

Stevenson Welcomes Positive AWPR Impact on Supply Chain

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed reports that the opening of the AWPR has reduced supply chain costs for energy firms in the North-East of Scotland.

It comes after ASCo, which has a base in Peterhead, said it expects costs for North Sea suppliers and operators to drop as a result of the development.

The majority of the AWPR opened last month, cutting congestion at traffic blackspots in and around the city.

ASCo said journey times have been cut by up to 20 minutes on major routes, bringing savings which can then be passed on to customers, as well as improved quality of life for drivers.

In an interview with Energy Voice, Transport and distribution manager Willie Smith, said ASCo expects to see more firms bring their operations closer to the new route.

He said:

“Looking at the benefits to the industry overall, the AWPR will help make goods more accessible and the transporting of them more efficient, resulting in reduced supply chain costs for both suppliers and operators across the region.

“We can also expect to see many companies make a strategic move, bringing their operations closer to the AWPR, where the improved route will have a direct and positive impact on their individual businesses.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The opening of the AWPR has been a hugely welcome moment both for individual commuters and for companies.

“I am pleased the impact has been of great benefit to Asco particularly for staff as they travel to and from the Peterhead base.

“The North Sea energy sector has been hit by the decline in oil price since 2015 which has impacted on the supply chain and created real challenges.

“I am pleased the opening of the AWPR is helping to support businesses and alleviate costs.”

16 January 2019

Farmer's Union Warns "We Cannot Feed Our Nation" After Brexit

A shortage of seasonal labour after Brexit could leave the UK unable to feed itself, according to the President of NFU Scotland.

Andrew McCornick warned that the pilot Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, granting temporary visas for up to 2,500 non-EU nationals, was inadequate – with some crops left unharvested last year due to worker shortages.

Mr McCornick also said that the UK government’s Shortage Occupation List was “dismissive” of the industry’s needs.

Now, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has warned of the impact a shortage of seasonal labour could have across his constituency.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Even before Brexit, Scotland’s agricultural industry has recently struggled to attract the seasonal workers we need – with the political environment and the falling pound making the UK a less attractive place to work.

“This industry depends on seasonal labour. With low unemployment and agricultural jobs located outside population centres, these jobs can’t be easily filled by existing Scottish residents.

“Yet the Tory approach to Brexit and immigration treats our vital farming industry with complete contempt – and risks leaving our crops rotting in the fields.

“Scotland needs an immigration system that meets our needs – and the power to deliver it.”

Agri-food tariff threat to Scottish consumers and producers

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed a call by the Scottish Government on Westminster calling for the setting of applied tariffs for imports to the UK.

It comes in the absence of a trade agreement between the UK and European Union, which means the same tariffs would apply to imports to the UK from the EU as from third countries.

For agri-food products, these tariffs could be considerable with potentially consequences for both consumers and producers.

As a result, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing has put forward a proposal for the targeted use of tariff rate quotas to achieve a balance in protecting both consumer and producer interests.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The UK Government must find a sensible and sensitive approach to the setting of applied tariffs for imports.

“This issue is particularly of importance with regard to agri-food products particularly in the absence of a trade agreement between the UK and European Union.

“The Cabinet Secretary has provided a proposal which aims to achieve a balance in the protection of both consumer and producer interests, as well as maintaining negotiating capital.

“I would urge the UK Government to give timely consideration to this proposal as there is no time to waste.”

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