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18 July 2013

Stevenson Welcomes Visa-Free Common Travel Area Plan Between Independent Ireland and UK to Boost Growth

Commenting on the news that that the UK and Irish governments are planning to deepen the existing Common Travel Area - which enables Irish and UK citizens to travel freely between both jurisdictions - by enabling business travellers and tourists from fast-growing Asian economies to travel on common visas between the two islands to boost their economies, local MSP Stewart Stevenson, said:

"Another day, and another Project Fear scare story bites the dust. The No campaigners have consistently argued that there would be border controls between Scotland and England if we vote Yes, when the reality is that the UK Government are working with Ireland to broaden and deepen the Common Travel Area which has existed between the two countries since the 1920s.

"A pilot project for mutual recognition of UK and Irish visas is to begin in the autumn, and the next step is for common visas to be issued and joint visa application centres set up abroad.

"That is the reality of two friendly, neighbouring, independent countries co-operating in their common interest - and it is a world away from the tripe that is trotted out on a daily basis by Project Fear.

"One by one, the No campaign's claims are being exposed and discredited - on mobile phone charges, triple-A credit rating, inward investment and Europe. Only this week, they were trying to argue the ridiculous case that having oil is somehow bad for Scotland - when the reality is that even without a drop of oil Scotland's economic output per head is 99% of the UK figure, and oil tax revenues would be a far smaller share of Scotland's revenue than is the case for Norway.

"If anyone from the No campaign ever again tries the argue the 'customs posts at the border' bogey, they will simply be laughed at in light of the UK Government working to broaden and deepen the existing Common Travel Area with Ireland.

"The basic problem for Project Fear is that it has got nothing good to say about Scotland - which is why it is reduced to tripe and dishonesty."

Historic Banffshire-Kronach Link Recognised in Parliament

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has given Parliamentary recognition to the historic Banffshire-Kronach twinning link in this, the year of its 40th anniversary.

The local MSP has tabled a Motion in Parliament highlighting the enduring link between the County of Banff and Landkreis Kronach in Germany, which was founded in 1973.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Twinning links like these survive and endure purely because of the hard work and commitment of volunteers as there is little or no official funding for these things.

“The Banffshire-Kronach link is all the more remarkable given that it was formed just shortly before the county lost its own council and a large part of its identity. Perhaps because of that, and the fierce determination of people in this part of the world that the Banffshire name should not be lost, we now have the fortieth anniversary being celebrated this summer.

“This has been an enduring friendship down through the years, and I hope that this important link will continue to be so with our German friends in Landkreis Kronach for many years to come.”


The wording of the Motion is as follows:

Motion S4M-07161

40th Anniversary of Banffshire-Landkreis Kronach Twinning

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire & Buchan Coast)(Scottish National Party): That the Parliament notes that 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the twinning link between Banffshire and Landkreis Kronach; congratulates the twinning committee on reaching this milestone anniversary; commends the local volunteers who have worked hard over the years to make this an enduring friendship between the German and Scottish communities; in particular, recognises the work of the Kronach Landrat, Oswald Marr, in maintaining this link and his personal commitment to its success; considers that such twinning arrangements bring an important contribution to civic and cultural life, and sends its best wishes for a successful exchange visit later this summer.

17 July 2013

MSP and Councillor Welcome Clerkhill Shops Progress

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson and Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stuart Pratt have welcomed commitments from national chains Ladbrokes and The Co-operative that they will take action to help resolve the long-running issue of the common area in front of the Clerkhill shops.

Stewart Stevenson wrote to the companies recently asking them to engage in attempts to resolve the repair and maintenance of the area and is delighted they have responded positively to his request. Both Ladbrokes and The Co-operative have said they will contribute a share of the costs of any upgrade carried out.

The area in front of the Clerkhill shops has been deteriorating for several years now. The pavement and cobbled area is privately-owned so is not the responsibility of Aberdeenshire Council. Efforts to locate the landowner have proved unsuccessful.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“This represents considerable progress on what has been the position in recent years and I am grateful to these businesses for stepping up to the mark.

“It’s unfortunate that a historical legal foible has left this area as a sort of “no-man’s land” but there is a willingness on the part of the local councillors to get a workable scheme together and I hope that the businesses, council and local community can work together to get this fixed.

“These are not easy times for small businesses, of whom there are several in Clerkhill, but I hope that this is the first step in making the area more attractive to customers.”

Local councillor Stuart Pratt, who has made several attempts in recent years to get agreement to get the area upgraded said:

“The problem here has been that the land is privately-owned and it is not the council’s responsibility to spend council-taxpayers’ money looking after other people’s property.

“I hope that now we have the two multi-national businesses on board that we can work together with the other businesses and the council and come up with a scheme which can take this project forward.”
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