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20 November 2012

Local MSP Urges North-East to Act Now - ‘Use the Hotline & Keep Warm’

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson is encouraging his constituents to prepare for the fast approaching cold weather by making use of  the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Hotline.

This call follows a new survey finding that almost 80 per cent of Scotland is concerned about the cost of their energy bills this winter. Though many people in Scotland use, or would be interested in using, loft (45%) or wall (32%) insulation to help warm their homes, only 29 per cent of people said they have claimed the free home insulation they are eligible for.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Living in the North-east, we are subject to severe weather and low temperatures every winter. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the excellent energy advice and support offered by a phone call to the Home Energy Hotline.

“People can simply make one call in order to discover what services they are eligible for. The Home Energy Hotline advisors can offer information on free offers, discounts, and eligibility in order to help everyone stay warm this winter.

“I would also encourage everyone to check their home’s insulation levels. The cold months are upon us, and proper planning will ensure a warmer, affordable, and greener home. Act now, use the hotline and keep warm.”

The Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland Hotline (0800 512 012) is free to call and energy advice is available now for everyone across Scotland.

For more advice and information go to www.homeenergyscotland.org.uk.

19 November 2012

Local MSP Comments on Vion Sale

Following Vion UK's announcement this evening that it is to sell its UK Food Operations, including the plant at Brydock, near Alvah, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

"The news that Vion intend to sell their UK business will be a worry for the employees of the company at Brydock and for the wider agricultural economy.

“Colleagues in the Scottish Government have been involved in detailed discussions with Vion for some months regarding their plant at Broxburn, and despite continued asking about the future of the Group, this is the first time the company has said anything about this sale.

“I will be contacting the company as a matter of urgency in order to seek clarification on their disposal intentions for the Brydock plant and its dedicated workforce.

“I am confident that a positive future remains for this extremely important rural Banffshire employer." 

15 November 2012

MSP Welcomes Boddam Group's Funding Award

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has today welcomed the news that a funding award has been made to a local community group from the Communities & Families Fund.

Boddam Playgroup is the beneficiary and has commendable plans for the money.  They plan to purchase equipment to encourage and allow the children to spend more time playing and growing food in their community garden.

The Communities and Families Fund is supported by the Scottish Government and the Big Lottery Fund and awards grants of between £250 and £10,000 to grass-roots community projects which focus on improving learning, health, and wellbeing for children under eight years old by supporting them, their families, and their community.  Today, the program announced it would be awarding £182,595 to 20 deserving organisations across Scotland.

Mr Stevenson has written to the Boddam Playgroup within his constituency who were successful in their application and is hopeful that this funding will support them, and allow them to develop their activities which are of great importance to the local community.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted to see that the local Boddam Playgroup was successful in applying for and securing the available funding in order to further support and develop their goals.

“The Boddam Playgroup is a deserving community organisation, and I hope that the funding will allow the children to fully enjoy the community garden. I am glad to see the funding go to such an enriching cause.

 “I would encourage any and all eligible groups in the area to apply to the Communities and Families Fund and enter the running for a grant to help them in continuing their activities, whatever they may be.”  

More information on eligibility and the application process for funding can be found at: 

Local Seafood Champions Wanted

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, is encouraging local seafood businesses and customers to contact the East Grampian Coastal Partnership (EGCP).  The EGCP is currently researching the possibility of bringing together local “Seafood Champions” for a seafood festival and Seafood Trail project in order to promote the local seafood culture.

The EGCP is asking that Seafood businesses be submitted through an online survey, in order to gain more information on the prospects of establishing a Seafood Trail.  This project aims to encourage consumers to support the North-east coastal communities by visiting the seafood businesses which will feature on the Seafood Trail.

The project is being partially funded by the Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund (AEFF) and will be delivered in partnership with Aberdeenshire Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG).

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“North-east Scotland is known for excellent seafood. This initiative is a great way to recognise and celebrate our local restaurants, chippies, and seafood suppliers.”

“I encourage everyone to submit their favourite seafood place.  The Seafood Trail project would be an excellent way of encouraging consumers to visit and support our local coastal communities.”

12 November 2012

LibDem's Own Arguments Make Case for Independent Scotland

The LibDems have been challenged to acknowledge that the inescapable logic of their call for a regional approach to EU fisheries management is for Scotland to have the powers to make its own decisions across the policy spectrum.

Tavish Scott MSP is quoted as arguing that when it comes to who should make decisions over fisheries, “Scottish fishermen need an active government focused on their interests".

The same argument can be applied to a host of other policy areas where the Scottish Government is currently prevented from acting as a result of the current devolution settlement, leading to calls for the LibDems to acknowledge the simple fact that it is people in Scotland who are best placed to take decisions affecting Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson whose Banffshire & Buchan Coast constituency is home to Scotland’s two largest fishing ports said:

“Tavish Scott is right that we need regional fisheries management, because the Common Fisheries Policy in its current form has failed either to protect fish stocks or support livelihoods in coastal communities.

“Quite simply, the people best placed to make decisions on managing the North Sea are the Governments of countries surrounding it, who by definition have the greatest stake in developing a profitable, sustainable industry.

“What the LibDems should acknowledge, however, is that this fact is just as true in many other areas.

“By definition, the people who are best placed to take decisions on Scotland’s economy, taxes and benefits, to name but a few areas, are the people of Scotland.

“If the LibDems can recognise that fact when it comes to fishing, they should acknowledge it is also true in a host of other areas.

“That is why we need the powers of an independent Scotland, as only a Yes vote in 2014 will give people in Scotland the opportunity to make all of our own policy decisions."


Tavish Scott’s comments can be viewed at http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/

11 November 2012

Scottish Maritime Academy Hailed as Tremendous Boost for Peterhead and Buchan Economy

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson and Peterhead South councillors Stuart Pratt and Stephen Smith have hailed the opening of the new Scottish Maritime Academy on Friday as a tremendous boost for Peterhead and the Buchan economy.

The SNP MSP and councillors attended Friday’s official opening of the facility which was performed by Olympic Gold Medallist Tim Baillie.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This is a stunning new facility which underlines the strong commitment to the future of the fishing and maritime industry of operators Banff & Buchan College.

“I congratulate Principal Paul Sherrington and all those involved in bringing this major project to fruition.  I’m in no doubt it will prove to be a very valuable asset indeed.”

Chair of the Buchan Area Committee on Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Stuart Pratt commented:

“This is tremendous for Peterhead and the wider Buchan economy.  The Scottish Maritime Academy is already attracting students from overseas who are spending money in local hotels and businesses during their stay here for their course.

“As the reputation of the Academy and the state-of-the-art facilities it provides grows, I am confident we will see more and more interest from overseas students wishing to study in Peterhead.”

Peterhead South SNP councillor Stephen Smith added:

“It’s a fantastic facility and there is a real buzz about the facilities and the potential the Scottish Maritime Academy offers to further cement Peterhead’s role as Europe’s premier fishing port.”

2 November 2012

MSP Visits Buchanhaven School

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson paid a visit to Buchanhaven School in Peterhead today as part of Miss Hutcheson’s Primary 6 class project on the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting following his visit, Mr Stevenson said:

“I’d like to thank Miss Hutcheson and the pupils of primary 6 for inviting me along today.

“I always find these visits very enjoyable and today was no exception.  The class was lively and engaging and I hope I was able to give them an insight into the day to day work and range of duties and activities which MSPs of all parties are involved in.”

Stevenson Helps MASScot in Promoting Skin Cancer Awareness

MASScot (Melanoma Action & Support Scotland) recently exhibited in the Scottish Parliament, highlighting the high incidence of malignant melanoma - the most common cancer in 15 to 34 year olds in Scotland.

MASScot asked the MSPs to consider a public education campaign to prevent skin cancers by avoiding sunburn and to make people aware of the early signs of skin cancer and the dangers of sunbed use. MSPs were asked to sign that they agreed that Sun Protection is Vital and add a comment of their own. Alex Salmond wrote "Pale is Cool" and many particularly noted the need for protection of young people. We hope the exercise will result in questions being asked about sun awareness and result in a debate on this issue in the Scottish Parliament.

Leigh Smith, Chair of MASScot, commented:

"We are delighted with the amount of MSPs who have signed the Sun Protection is Vital pledge and the many who highlighted how important it is to educate our youngsters on safe sun practice from an early age. Furthermore, knowing the signs to look for and early detection of skin cancer can mean the difference between life and death, and this is something we hope will be debated on in the near future." 

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

Early diagnosis with removal by minor surgery will cure thin melanomas, but all too often the early signs of cancer are missed. That’s why I feel it’s important to support the work of organisations such as MASScot to ensure that people get the right information about the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.”

Further information on melanoma & the support that MASScot provide can be found at: www.masscot.org.uk

Stevenson Welcomes Funding Awards for Banffshire Groups

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast has today welcomed the news that two community groups in the Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency are to receive Awards for All Scotland funding from the Big Lottery Fund totalling £13,340.

1st Cornhill Scout Group (£3700) and Friends of Cluny Primary (£9640) were both beneficiaries and have commendable plans for the money.

Awards for All Scotland is supported by the Creative Scotland, Sportscotland and the Big Lottery Fund and awards grants of between £500 and £10,000 to grass-roots community groups and voluntary organisations which promote education, the environment and health in the local community. Today, the program announced it would be awarding £1,293,726 to 173 deserving organisations across Scotland.

Mr Stevenson has written to both of the groups within his constituency who were successful in their application and is hopeful that this funding will support them, and allow them to develop their activities which are of great importance to the local community.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted to see these local groups successfully applying for and securing the available funding in order to further support and develop their goals.

“These groups are similarly working towards enriching the lives of our local youth. I am glad to see the funding go to such a deserving cause.

 “I would encourage any and all eligible groups in the area to apply to Awards for All and enter the running for a grant to help them in continuing their activities, whatever they may be.”  

Information on eligibility and the application process for funding can be found at:
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