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27 October 2005

STEVENSON BACKS CALL FOR GOVT. ACTION ON BIOFUELS

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has given his backing to Parliamentary calls for Government action to stimulate new renewable fuel projects.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I am very keen to see action taken by Government – be it Scottish or Westminster – to promote the production and use of environmentally-friendly biofuels.

“This is a subject which is vitally important, not only in terms of the environment, but also because there is huge interest in the agriculture sector among farmers who are interested in getting involved in the emerging market for energy crops.

“As the cost of conventional fuels continues to increase, mainly due to Chancellor Gordon Brown’s tax take at the pumps, environmentally-friendly fuels are going to become more and more important in the future. Scotland should be getting its act together now and getting in ahead of the game on this issue.”

Note: Text of the Motion is as follows:

S2M-3448: Economic Opportunity of Biofuels— That the Parliament supports the production of biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel and vegetable-based oils, both as a boost to the economy and in keeping with obligations to the Kyoto Protocol; believes that biofuel production would also benefit farmers, particularly in areas such as the Highlands; recognises that green fuels are being used already in Sweden, the United States of America, Brazil and other countries, to the success of their agricultural economies, and considers that the Scottish Executive should continue to stimulate new renewable fuels projects through grants and petitioning Her Majesty's Government to reduce taxation on all biofuels.

25 October 2005

MSP PRAISES BACK CARE AWARENESS WEEK

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson is highlighting Back Care Awareness Week.

“The aim of BackCare Awareness Week is to highlight the importance of good back care. Two out of five adults will experience back pain sometime in the next 12 months, and it costs the UK a staggering £6 billion each year in benefits, treatments and lost production. In the past, the prescribed treatment was bed and lots of rest. Nowadays though it is recommended that sufferers keep as active as possible - without overdoing things.

“Good posture encourages your muscles, joints and ligaments to work as nature intended. It means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency. Good posture can also contribute towards the normal functioning of the nervous system. Without good posture, your overall health and total efficiency may be compromised.

“Regular, controlled exercise can help ease back pain. Walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, t'ai chi and simple stretches are just a few 'back-friendly' activities. However, before taking up a regular programme of exercise, it is always of importance to consult your GP or back care specialist.

“BackCare is a UK charity that helps people manage and prevent back pain by providing advice, promoting self-help, encouraging debate and funding scientific research into better back care. For those wishing further information, they should call 0870 950 0275 (Monday and Friday, 9am to 12pm; Wednesday and Sunday, 6pm to 9pm) or go to www.backcare.org.uk.”

MSP WELCOMES ABERDEENSHIRE SCHOOL REPORT

Banff and Buchan SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to the Headteacher of Stuartfield School, congratulating her and her staff following the publication of the latest HM Inspector of Education (HMIe) report. Commenting on the report Mr Stevenson said:

“This is an excellent report, which has been achieved due to the immense dedication and enthusiasm of the headteacher and staff at Stuartfield School. The school is leading the way in providing a very high standard of education.

“Numerous key strengths were identified during the report and I am sure that the efforts of all involved at the school has not gone unnoticed by parents, nor the wider community. It is pleasing to hear that the school was praised for the efforts of staff to develop pupils’ confidence and broader achievements. In addition, Stuartfield School was found to have good day-to-day communication with parents, partnership with the School Board and the PTA.

“The school is an exceptional example of what can be attained, and I am sure that Stuartfield School will go from strength to strength.”

Note:

HM Inspector identified the following key strengths at the school.
  • A very positive, supportive and inclusive school ethos
  • The quality of pupils’ learning experiences at P6/P7
  • Efforts made by staff to develop pupils’ confidence and broader achievements
  • Day-to-day communication with parents, partnership with the School Board and PTA, and the use of resources from the wider community
Judged as very good:
  • Pastoral care
  • Climate and relationships
  • Equality and Fairness
  • Partnership with parents, the School Board and the community

11 October 2005

STEVENSON HIGHLIGHTS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month taking place in October.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month has the aim of increasing awareness of the disease among both the public and health professionals, raise funds for research into the cause, prevention and cure of the disease, and offer vital information and support to those affected by it.

“Breast cancer is a malignant tumour in the breast, whereby the cancer attacks the tissue in which it started and can spread to other parts of the body. The good news is that nine times out of ten, lumps in the breast aren't cancerous. In fact, many women have naturally 'lumpy' breasts, caused by other harmless conditions such as cysts. However, it's always best to check any lumps or changes in your breasts with your doctor - sooner rather than later.

“It is vital to stress the importance of self-examination, especially when you view the statistic that breast cancer is the second biggest cause of death from cancer in women in the UK and that early detection of breast cancer can in some cases increase survival rates to 90 per cent. Age is possibly the biggest single risk factor in breast cancer: women over 50 are particularly at risk. It's by no means unheard of for women under this age to have breast cancer, but it is less likely. Finally, we must’ve forget the fact that men also can develop breast cancer.

“For those wishing to find out more, Breast Cancer Care is a national charity that offers information and support to people affected by breast cancer. It can provide services to women and men with the disease, their families, friends, partners, and members of the public and healthcare professionals.

“The charity operates a free national helpline on 0808 800 6000 and publishes various factsheets and leaflets. For more information about the charity, call 020 7384 2984 or visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk.”

6 October 2005

STEVENSON ON PRISONERS RIGHT TO VOTE

Commenting on the ruling by the European Court of Human that banning prisoners from voting breaches their human rights, SNP Prison Spokesperson Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"If we deprive criminals of right to liberties, then it does not seem disproportionate to deprive them of the right to vote. It would seem surprising to many, that we might offer prisoners an influence in changing the law under whose rule they are imprisoned.

"I shall be asking the Scottish Executive how they will be addressing the matter."
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