11 December 2017

MSP Encourages Parents in North-East to Make Use of Free Flu Vaccine

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson is encouraging all parents and guardians of 2-5 year olds in the Banffshire and Buchan Coast area to take advantage of the free flu vaccine before Christmas.

In a bid to keep children virus-free this winter, GP practices across Scotland are providing the nasal flu vaccine free of charge.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“With only two weeks left until Christmas I am urging all parents or guardians in the Banffshire and Buchan area who haven’t yet done so, to take their children between the ages of two and five to their local GP for the free flu vaccine.

“The nasal spray only takes a few minutes, is painless, and does not contain a live virus so will not cause flu in your child and can protect against flu for up to a year.

“It’s very important that children receive the vaccine, which the best defence against flu for your children and also helps reduce the spread of infectious flu.”

7 December 2017

UK Transport Secretary Admits: "Running the Track and the Train Together Makes Sense"

SNP Calls for Full Devolution of Network Rail with Vision to Radically Improve Service

The UK Secretary of State for Transport has conceded that it “makes sense” to run “the track and the train together”, supporting the SNP’s longstanding view that fully devolving Network Rail would improve Scotland’s rail services.

At the moment, while the Scottish Government is in charge of Scotrail’s funding, policy and strategy, Network Rail is still responsible for railway infrastructure and answers only to the UK Government, not Holyrood.
Scotrail figures for the latest four week period and over the last year show that Network Rail was responsible for just over half of all ScotRail delays.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling described Network Rail as it currently stands as a “centralised, big blob at the centre".

Commenting, local MSP and former Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“In spite of Network Rail’s shambolic operations, Scotrail’s services over the last year were punctual, on average, 91.1% of the time, compared to the UK average of 88.4%.

“The Reform Scotland think tank last year backed the Scottish Government’s vision to fully devolve Network Rail in order to improve the service for Scottish passengers and enable a “clear line of accountability” when things go wrong.

“The SNP is doing all it can to improve our rail services with the powers we have, but we need greater accountability of Network Rail in Scotland and we welcome Chris Grayling’s admission that a centralised Network Rail is not delivering.

“We know that further devolution will bring substantial savings of around £100 million every year.

“Only with full devolution of rail powers can the Scottish Government consider the full range of options for structuring our railways to meet the needs of travellers in Scotland.”

6 December 2017

MSP Highlights Unfair Delivery Charges Facing Banffshire and Buchan Coast

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson is calling for an end to the unfair delivery charges facing many online shoppers in his Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency.

It comes after fresh research by Citizens Advice Scotland revealed many Scots are facing charges of between 30-50%.
Supporting Richard Lochhead MSP’s Fair Delivery Charges campaign in the Scottish Parliament today (Wednesday 6th December), Mr Stevenson has condemned what Citizens Advice Scotland has dubbed the ‘postcode penalty’ facing online shoppers across Scotland.

A constituent in Fraserburgh faced a £19.99 excess charge for a book table which had the offer of free delivery for customers in England and Wales but not Scotland.

Meanwhile in Banff, leggings which cost £7.96 had a delivery surcharge of £11.96.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is extremely unfair that some of the most loyal online shoppers in the North-East and across rural Scotland are the ones facing location discrimination and having to pay a postcode penalty to get their items delivered this Christmas.

“Citizens Advice Scotland’s research shows that many businesses and families in Scotland are being charged an average of nearly £19 extra when buying goods online, and similar horror stories from the Banffshire and Buchan Coast area including in Fraserburgh.

“I am delighted that Richard Lochhead MSP has brought this issue to Parliament so that we can highlight the problem and stop retailers getting away with charging wildly different delivery fees for neighbouring postcodes simply because they can.

“Hopefully the campaign will force retailers to stop this discrimination and adopt set standards for deliveries to each and every corner of the UK, not least the North-East.”
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