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22 March 2011

Parliament Dissolved

The third session of the resumed Scottish Parliament ended at midnight on Tuesday, 22nd March 2011.

Although the Scottish Government First Minister (Alex Salmond), Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers remain in post until a new team is appointed after the election, MSPs cease to hold office from then.

All references on this web site to Stewart Stevenson being an MSP therefore relate to activity up to 22nd March 2011.

I shall be standing for the Scots Parliament in the new Banffshire & Buchan Coast Constituency as an SNP candidate and looking forward to continuing to serve the people of the North East, if elected, in the new session of Parliament. The communities covered by the new constituency include Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff, Macduff, Cullen, Buckie, Portknockie, Findochty, Deskford, Grange, Drybridge, Rothiemay, Forglen, Whitehills, Inverboyndie, Boyndie, Pennan, Tyrie, Boyndlie, Gardenstown, Sandhaven, Rosehearty, Portsoy, Sandend, Aberchirder, Cornhill, Fordyce, Lonmay, Crimond, St Fergus, Boddam, Rora, St Combs, Inverallochy, Cairnbulg, Rathven, Rathen.

Information about my campaign may be found at http://banffshireandbuchancoastsnp.info.

Stevenson Supports WWF's Earth Hour

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has shown his support for WWF's Earth Hour which takes place on Saturday 26th March. Commenting on the event, Mr Stevenson said: 

"I am fully supporting this event as I have done in previous years and urge constituents, local businesses and organisations to show their support by switching off their lights for one hour from 8.30pm on Saturday night.  This will mark WWF's Earth Hour and show support for action on climate change. 

"The Scottish Government's world-leading Climate Change Act is challenging but achievable and in doing so a cleaner, greener Scotland will result. 

"Simple, small changes in our daily lives will not only help reduce emissions but can contribute towards a healthier lifestyle, improve our environment and offer real financial savings. 

"I trust that the WWF's Earth Hour will be successful in its aim of highlighting the significant consequences of climate change."

17 March 2011

Stevenson Hails Funding For Coastal Communities

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement that coastal communities in Banff & Buchan will be eligible for a share of £4.5 million to support local projects that improve the community.

The funding through Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund will support projects that improve the quality of life and promote economic diversification in coastal communities. £1.5 million will be set aside for the Highlands & Islands with the remaining £3 million available to coastal areas in the rest of Scotland such as towns and villages in Banff & Buchan.

The Scottish Government is inviting councils to set up Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGS) to consider applications and decide on projects with the greatest local benefit.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“People in Banff & Buchan know only too well how important it is to support our fishing industry, but equally as vital is the need to support the often fragile communities that exist in coastal areas. That is particularly true in places that once relied on the fishing industry but has seen it decline in recent years.

“Even relatively modest amounts of funding can help to transform these communities and improve the quality of life for local residents. That is why this funding that has been specifically set aside to support coastal communities is so welcome.

“I hope that this funding will help to support some fantastic local projects in Banff & Buchan and I am looking forward to seeing what develops from it.”


Notes:

Axis 4 supports the sustainable development of fisheries regions. In particular it supports initiatives aimed at adding value to fisheries products; and measures to promote economic diversification in areas such as tourism and leisure, food and renewable energy that exploits local resources. It also aims to improve the quality of life in areas affected by the decline in fishing activities, such as small scale infrastructural projects environmental protection and training and capacity building for local communities.

Stevenson Shows Support For Climate Week

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has shown his support for Climate Week, which takes place from 21st – 27th March.

Commenting on the event, Mr Stevenson said:

“I very much welcome and support Climate Week, and note that the campaign seeks to encourage a week of events to focus attention on the challenges of climate change, to share ideas on how to tackle it and to inspire action across a range of sectors.

“I certainly encourage organisations including workplaces, schools and community groups to get involved with the campaign.

“I agree with the campaign’s view that there is no universal solution for combating climate change and that solutions can involve changes in every area of our daily lives. We should all come together to do our bit to protect our planet and create a secure future.

“I am aware that many positive steps are already being taken in workplaces and communities and that the simplest and smallest improvements can inspire more people.

“For those wishing for more information they should visit: http://www.climateweek.com/.”

11 March 2011

Local MSP To Officially Open New Holiday Park Development

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson will officially open the North-east's newest holiday park on Monday 14 March at 12.00pm at Hill of Maunderlea Lodges, Aberchirder, AB54 7PY

Local man Brian Grieg has developed the centre as a tourist accommodation destination and used local companies and local labour in the realisation of his project.  As Mr Grieg explains on his website: 

"Nestled in fourteen acres of mature woodland, set on a small hill in historic Banffshire, our four newly built lodges provide a luxury standard of self-catering accommodation in an exceptionally beautiful and peaceful location. The surrounding countryside is of gently rolling hills, dotted with market towns, woodland, small lochs and rivers which flow to a coastline punctuated with sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and rocky coves. There are also many interesting fishing villages and towns, including Portsoy and Pennan, to explore." 

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said: 

"I'm very much looking forward to seeing the accommodation for myself and Mr Greig is to be congratulated for bringing forward this development, which will offer quality accommodation and hopefully attract more tourists to our corner. 

"We very often sell ourselves short in the North-east in terms of our tourism potential.  However, time and time again I receive very positive feedback from visitors who find much to interest them.  It's probably more a case of people who live here being too familiar with the very things that visitors to the area actually find attractive. 

"Hill of Maunderlea is well-situated to take advantage of being close to the Banffshire coast, yet handy for the many attractions in the Aberdeenshire hinterland.  I wish Mr Greig well in his venture."

10 March 2011

Stevenson Hails Prison Decision

Commenting on the news that Aberdeenshire councillors have approved the planning application for a new-build prison in Peterhead, Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“This is excellent news for Peterhead and for the Buchan economy.

“In the wake of the collapse of the Les Taylor Group I had construction companies contacting me expressing concern that the objection lodged by Score Group might deprive the community not only of a multi-million pound construction project, but also of the existing 200 bread-winner jobs provided on site.

“I’m delighted that the councillors have taken the decision they have, and we can look forward not only to the safeguarding of 200 jobs in Peterhead, but an expansion in employment once the new prison is complete.

“I’ve been proud to support the local community in its long campaign to retain a prison in the town and today is their reward for their perseverance with that campaign, even when it looked like the then head of the SPS and the former Justice Minister Jim Wallace might get their way and close Peterhead Prison. This is a good day for Peterhead and for community-led campaigns.”

Stevenson Raises Portsoy Regeneration Funding In Parliament

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has taken the opportunity to welcome the recently announced regeneration funding for Portsoy during themed question time in the Scottish Parliament. It was recently announced that the town will receive £500,000 from the Historic Scotland Conservation Area Regeneration Fund to restore buildings in the area and support the uptake of traditional skills.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“The recently announced funding will make a real impact on regenerating the area and is something that I know is being warmly welcomed by local residents. It will help to encourage larger numbers of visitors to the area and improve the streetscapes of the town.

“As well as funding the restoration of buildings in the harbour area, the funding will support the uptake amongst young people of the traditional skills which are a key part of the hugely successful traditional boat festival in the town.

“The funding will be a significant economic boost for the area and I am delighted that the SNP Government is again demonstrating that it is delivering for people in Banff & Buchan.”

9 March 2011

SNP Meet 1,000 Police Officers Pledge

145 MORE POLICE IN GRAMPIAN UNDER THE SNP

SNP candidate for the new Banffshire & Buchan Coast Constituency Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed release of figures which confirm the SNP Government has met a key pledge of 1,000 additional police on Scotland’s streets four years after being elected.

Locally, there are now 145 more police officers in Grampian as at December 2010 than there were in March 2007.

Latest figures show that there will be 17,270 police on the street at the end of March – 1,036 more than the SNP inherited from Labour in March 2007 and so meeting the SNP’s pledge to have 1,000 additional officers in the lifetime of this parliament.

The decision to put 1,000 additional police on Scotland’s streets has played a key part in delivering the lowest crime rates for 32 years, a 20% fall in violent crime – meaning 3000 fewer violent offences and falling knife crime.

Welcoming the figures, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The SNP has delivered on a key pledge of 1,000 additional police on Scotland’s streets and those police have helped make Scotland much safer over the last four years.

“Our opponents said we had to deliver 1,000 more police in March 2011 than they left behind in March 2007 – and today’s figures make clear that has been achieved.

“If it had been left to Labour there wouldn’t have been a single extra officer, and Scotland’s forces would have been left vulnerable at a time when police numbers elsewhere in the UK are set to plummet.

“It was only the election of an SNP Government in 2007 that made increasing the number of police on the street a priority and it is that SNP Government working for Scotland that has done the job.

“Our record of improving community safety with more police leading to the lowest crime rates in 32 years, to 3000 fewer violent crimes, to special efforts to tackle domestic abuse, serious and organised crime and to crack down on knives with knife crime falling by a third is one that has helped to make Scotland safer.”

3 March 2011

Stevenson To Visit Peterhead Projects Ltd

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson and Peterhead North & Rattray councillor Anne Allan will pay a visit to Peterhead Projects Limited on Friday 4 March (tomorrow) at 35 Broad Street, Peterhead at 10.30am.

Mr Stevenson is visiting at the suggestion of Cllr Allan to hear more about Peterhead Projects’ highly successful “2ReUse” service, which operates from the town’s Meethill Shopping Centre at Berryden Road, and will visit there at around 11.15am.

2ReUse launched in September 2010 and has benefitted from over 1800 volunteer hours and has diverted over 30 tonnes of items destined for landfill into usable, reconditioned household items and is proving extremely popular with the public.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“Councillor Allan and her SNP colleagues have been talking very positively about what Peterhead Projects and 2ReUse have achieved during their short time in existence and suggested that I should come along and see for myself.

“I’m very much looking forward to meeting the team there and learning more about it, particularly the volunteering opportunities available which has allowed a range of people the chance to develop skills to help them in the jobs market.”

1 March 2011

Stevenson Highlights Importance Of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted the importance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place in March.

Commenting on the campaign, Mr Stevenson said:

“I applaud Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in its aim to raise awareness of prostate cancer and raise vital funds to improve research, information and support services for men and their families who are affected by this disease.

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK - 36,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. 250,000 men are currently living with the disease.

“It's important that information about this disease reaches as many people as possible, so that we can all help our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and sons, husbands and partners know about it.”

For those wishing additional information, please call the free confidential helpline on 0800 074 8383 between 10.00am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday and Wednesdays from 7 - 9pm or visit: http://scotland.prostate-cancer.org.uk/.

Stevenson To Mark 400th Debate With Call For Fairer Fuel Prices

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson will take part in his 400th Scottish Parliament debate since becoming an MSP tomorrow (Wednesday) and will use the milestone debate to call for the introduction of a fuel duty regulator and a rural fuel derogation to get control of spiralling fuel prices.

Despite the presence of North Sea oil off Scotland’s coast, the UK has some of the highest fuel prices in Europe with the problem particularly bad in rural areas such as Banff & Buchan.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am immensely proud to have reached the personal milestone of my 400th debate in the Scottish Parliament and I am delighted to be able to mark it by discussing an issue that is concerning so many people in Banff & Buchan.

“The price of fuel is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses and motorists in rural areas where there is simply no alternative to using the car. Fuel prices have been rising out of control in recent years and it is hammering households financially at a time they can ill afford it.

“Just a few years ago we saw protests as the price of petrol reached £1 a litre, yet today motorists would be delighted with a return to that level. That is why the SNP is continuing to push for the introduction of a Fuel Duty Regulator which would see the increased tax receipts from higher oil prices used to lower fuel duty and keep the price of fuel at the petrol pump stable.

“I will also be raising the SNP’s commitment to a rural fuel derogation, so that people in rural areas who have no choice but to use their car are not unfairly hammered with higher costs on the forecourt.”
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