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2 July 2015

Stevenson Supports 'Subtitle It' Campaign for Those with Hearing Loss

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has lent his support to the ‘Subtitle It’ campaign from charity Action on Hearing Loss – calling for subtitles to be included on catch up TV.

There are 10 million people with hearing loss in the UK, and thousands rely on subtitles to follow dialogue and plot in a TV programme. TV on demand and streaming services are increasingly becoming the normal method of viewing TV, but almost all of this is inaccessible to deaf people due to the lack of subtitles.

Mr Stevenson said:

“The way that we watch TV has been completely transformed over the past few years with many people now choosing to stream film or watch catch-up TV in their spare time.

“However, people with hearing loss are missing out due to subtitles being absent from thousands of hours of ‘on demand’ content, and this needs to be addressed.”

Stevenson Welcomes Drop in Homelessness in Aberdeenshire

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed official statistics that show a drop in homelessness figures across Aberdeenshire.

The number of people who are homeless has fallen for the sixth consecutive year, thanks to a national approach to prevention.

Across Aberdeenshire, the number of applications under the Homeless Persons legislation has fallen from 1288 to 1180 between April 2014 and March 2015.

New statistics recording prevention also demonstrate that the Housing Options approach has been the reason for homelessness consistently falling. The number of Prevention Approaches applications has fallen from 195 to 110 between April 2014 and March 2015 in Aberdeenshire.

The role this approach has played in reducing homelessness applications across Scotland has been evidenced through the PREVENT1 recording system.

The figures show that where a person had been referred to the scheme due to a reason involving possible homelessness, only 45 per cent went on to apply as homeless in 2014-15, suggesting that the Housing Options approach may have prevented homelessness for up to 55 per cent of applicants.

Mr Stevenson said:

“These new statistics show that the Housing Options service is responsible for the fall in homelessness applications, and I am delighted that these are falling across Aberdeenshire.

“Housing is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s ambition for a fairer and more prosperous country, and preventing people from experiencing the misery of homelessness is a priority.

“By working across various different services to prevent homelessness happening in the first place, significant progress is being made to reduce the number of people who are homeless in Scotland.”

The Empty Homes scheme was recently launched and the Scottish Government is currently at 90 per cent of their commitment to deliver 30,000 affordable houses during the lifetime of this Parliament. They will also be looking at private rented sector reforms following a countrywide consultation – further helping to prevent homelessness in Scotland.

26 June 2015

Stevenson Encourages Applications for 'Empty Home Fund' in Banffshire and Buchan Coast

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed a new £4 million fund that will help bring abandoned homes and empty high street spaces back to life.

The Scottish Government’s ‘Town Centre Empty Fund’ will help to revive empty homes and convert unused commercial spaces into new affordable homes. Funding will be administered by Scottish Empty Homes Partnership to registered social landlords and developers in Banffshire and Buchan Coast and throughout Scotland.

Since 2010, the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership has brought over 900 homes back into use and encouraged 17 of Scotland’s 32 authorities to appoint empty homes officers.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted that the Town Centre Empty Homes Fund has been launched and that my constituents as well as the rest of Scotland will benefit from it.

“I would encourage registered social landlords and developers across Banffshire and Buchan Coast to apply for funding so that we can begin to see empty homes filled with those who need them, and commercial spaces revamped for public use.

“Transforming more unused spaces into comfortable homes will help provide more affordable housing in Scotland. There are currently an estimated 27,000 long-term private empty homes and it makes sense to put these properties to good use to ensure more people have access to high quality, affordable housing.”

The deadline for applications is 21 August 2015.
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