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28 August 2013

Stevenson Welcomes Record University Acceptances

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed news that a record number of Scots have been accepted to Scottish universities this year with the Scottish Government funding the fees together with a combination of bursaries and loans, based on household income, for students.

Welcoming this year’s success Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is great news that more students than ever are getting the opportunity to go to university.

“On the funding side. as young people turn their minds to starting university after the summer break, it is crucial that they make sure they have applied for student support. It is excellent news that a record number of students have already completed their applications for funding this year.

“The Scottish Government pays the fees of Scots going to our universities as well as providing a combination of other support packages, based on household income, which gives young Scots the best package of support in the UK.

“Since last year, the Scottish Government has invested an additional £2 million to help SAAS process applications quickly but it is crucial that students apply promptly to help make sure their support is in place as quickly as possible.

“Following a successful campaign by SAAS, NUS Scotland and student associations, a record number of students have applied for their fees and support package on time and now have their funding package in place.”

SAAS are available at http://www.saas.gov.uk/ and their helpline is 0300 555 0505 which now has extended opening hours from 08:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday, with advisors ready to help students with their applications.

SNP MSP Welcomes Funding Award for Local Group

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast has today welcomed the news that the Princes Royal Sports & Community Trust is to receive an award of £1,584 from the Big Lottery Fund’s 2014 Communities programme.

The group intends to use the funds to support the development of various archery programmes.

The Big Lottery Fund’s 2014 Communities programme awards grants of between £300 and £2,000 to projects, which promote sports and physical activity at a grassroots level.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted to see this local group, a centre of activity in our community receiving funds, which will serve to support it now and provide for its development in the future.

“I would encourage any and all eligible groups in the area to apply to Big Lottery Fund’s 2014 Communities programme and state their case 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

http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_2014_communities

27 August 2013

Buckie Representatives Meet HIE About Buckie Shipyard Administration

Public representatives of Buckie have today [Tuesday] met with HIE to discuss the recently announced administration of Buckie Shipyard.

Local MP Angus Robertson, MSP Stewart Stevenson and Cllr Gordon McDonald met with senior HIE staff at their Forres Horizons Offices to be briefed about the administration of the Buckie Shipyard.

Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson said:

“HIE and other public agencies are clearly focussed on dealing with the Buckie Shipyard Administration including job losses and efforts to minimise the economic damage of the challenging circumstances.

“Interest in the facilities is already being shown by a number of enterprises which is extremely heartening. Buckie Harbour and the town has tremendous economic potential and both HIE and The Moray Council have a public interest in ensuring the widest economic interest with the harbour."

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The Administration announcement for the Buckie Shipyard was a real shock to its staff and the town but HIE and other agencies are already working to deal with the situation.

“There are grounds for optimism given early signs of commercial interest in the facility that a new future is possible. Buckie Harbour has tremendous potential and I would call on HIE and The Moray Council to ensure that the future of the harbour is considered in the widest strategic sense."

Buckie SNP Councillor Gordon McDonald said:

“I know a great many in Buckie who have been very worried by the upsetting news about Buckie Shipyard. It is good to know that people are working hard to find jobs or to help the workforce that require new jobs and secure a new future for this facility.

“While it is at a very early stage in the administration process it is good to know that there have been expressions of interest in the yard. Everyone should be focussed on ensuring that the best possible outcome for Buckie is at the top of the agenda."

Stevenson to Host Fishing Meeting with Cabinet Secretary

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson will be hosting a meeting for local fishermen and those involved in the fishing industry next week.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead will take part and the meeting will be chaired by Stewart Stevenson. The event takes place at Findlay’s Hotel, Smiddyhill Road, Fraserburgh on Monday 2 September at 5.30pm.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I’m very pleased that Richard Lochhead has agreed to my suggestion to take part in such a meeting. The idea originally arose out of a conversation with one of my constituents on fishing issues and I thought it would be a useful thing to do.

“The Scottish Cabinet will be holding a meeting in Fraserburgh earlier in the day and it seemed like a good opportunity to do something locally involving Richard Lochhead. I hope that by arranging this, we can allow local fishermen and those involved in the industry to put their views directly to Richard as well as hear from them on a range of issues.”

24 August 2013

Buckie MSP Comments on Shipyard Administration

Commenting on the news today that Buckie Shipyard has gone into voluntary administration, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

"This is undoubtedly a blow to the town and my thoughts are with the workers affected by today's announcement.

"Along with my colleagues Angus Robertson as MP for the area and Buckie councillor Gordon McDonald, I will be meeting with Highlands & Islands Enterprise early next week to discuss the situation.

"I do believe that there is the potential, given the strengths of the area, not least of which is a dedicated workforce, that something can be done but I don't pretend that will be easy to achieve and it is something I will be urging the various agencies with responsibility for such matters to make every effort to achieve."

Moray MP Angus Robertson said:

"This news is a very worrying development in Buckie and I sincerely hope that the Administration process can result in a new start for the company and not a loss of an important business in the town. Buckie Shipyard has a long history in the east of Moray with its prominent role in Buckie Harbour and it will be a difficult time for the 68 workforce whose jobs are affected by this decision.

"With the prospect of good renewables related work on the horizon I hope that investors will see the strong potential that I believe the yard and the harbour has and I will now be meeting with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to see what can be done to help get the best outcome from this situation."

Buckie SNP councillor Gordon McDonald added:

"The changes that have occurred in the fishing industry over the last 30 years with bigger and bigger boats and a corresponding reduction in smaller vessels has had a significant impact on yards like Buckie and this news is clearly a shock for the town. The recent loss of RNLI work has also been significant.

"The public bodies in Moray such as The Moray Council and Highlands & Islands Enterprise will, I am sure, work together in an effort to get the best possible outcome in the coming weeks for the employees affected and for the town as whole."

13 August 2013

Stevenson Announces Annual Surgery Tour

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has announced details of his forthcoming surgery tour of local communities which commences on Wednesday 28 August.

This year will be the thirteenth such tour that Mr Stevenson has undertaken, covering 37 communities from Rothiemay in the far west to Boddam at the south-eastern end of the constituency and inland to Aberchirder, New Byth and Memsie.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

"The annual surgery tour with my mobile office is always extremely enjoyable and I think also that people appreciate having their MSP come to their own community rather than having to go to one of my 'static' surgeries in a nearby town or village.

"Even in this age of electronic communications, people still value being able to have face-to-face contact with their elected representatives, which is important. It also gets me into some of our smaller communities which I may otherwise not have reason to visit during the course of a year."

Details of the tour are as follows:

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson will be available for consultation in his Mobile Office at the following locations:

Date Start End Location
Wed, 28 Aug 09:45 10:00 Gardenstown adj. to Petrol Station
Wed, 28 Aug 10:15 10:30 New Aberdour Car Park
Wed, 28 Aug 10:45 11:10 Rosehearty The Square
Wed, 28 Aug 11:20 11:35 Sandhaven St Magnus Rd opp. Park
Wed, 28 Aug 11:50 12:00 Tyrie adj. old PO
Wed, 28 Aug 13:30 13:40 Memsie adj. BT exchange
Wed, 28 Aug 13:50 14:00 Rathen adj. Public Hall
Wed, 28 Aug 14:10 14:30 Inverallochy adj. PO
Wed, 28 Aug 14:20 15:00 St Combs Hall Car Park
Wed, 28 Aug 15:10 15:20 Lonmay adj. Ban Car Hotel
Wed, 28 Aug 15:30 15:45 Crimond Church Car Park
Wed, 28 Aug 15:55 16:10 St Fergus opp. Shop
Wed, 28 Aug 16:20 16:30 Rora Hall Car Park
Wed, 28 Aug 16:50 17:10 Boddam Russell Street
Thu, 29 Aug 09:55 10:10 New Byth The Square
Thu, 29 Aug 10:15 10:25 Crudie Lay By
Thu, 29 Aug 10:35 10:45 Fisherie Craigwall Cottages
Thu, 29 Aug 10:55 11:05 King Edward Kirk Lay By
Thu, 29 Aug 11:20 11:45 Macduff Knowes Hotel car park
Thu, 29 Aug 12:00 12:20 Whitehills Seafield Street
Thu, 29 Aug 13:30 13:40 Boyndie opp. Boyndie Centre
Thu, 29 Aug 13:50 14:15 Portsoy Church Street
Thu, 29 Aug 14:25 14:40 Sandend adj. Phone Box
Thu, 29 Aug 14:50 15:10 Cullen The Square
Thu, 29 Aug 15:15 15:30 Portknockie Hill Street
Thu, 29 Aug 15:35 15:50 Findochty Station Road near PO
Thu, 29 Aug 15:55 16:10 Rathven Main Road near Kirk
Fri, 30 Aug 10:15 10:25 Alvah adj. Linhead Hall
Fri, 30 Aug 10:35 10:50 Forglen Bogton Row
Fri, 30 Aug 11:05 11:30 Aberchirder The Square
Fri, 30 Aug 11:50 12:10 Rothiemay Near Shop
Fri, 30 Aug 13:30 13:45 Knock adj. Post Box
Fri, 30 Aug 14:00 14:15 Cornhill Car Park adj. park
Fri, 30 Aug 14:30 14:45 Fordyce adj. Castle
Fri, 30 Aug 14:55 15:10 Lintmill Burnside
Fri, 30 Aug 15:20 15:35 Deskford Community Centre park
Fri, 30 Aug 15:40 15:55 Grange adj. Crossroads School

No appointment is necessary, although constituents with ongoing cases should advise their attendance on: 01779 470444

9 August 2013

Stevenson Officially Re-Opens Refurbished Banff Museum

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has officially re-opened Banff Museum. The High Street facility has undergone refurbishment thanks to a group of volunteers and a grant from the Burgh’s Common Good Fund.

Stewart Stevenson MSP
with Julian Watson
Chairman of the Banff Preservation
& Heritage Society
Speaking in Banff this afternoon, Mr Stevenson said:

“I’m delighted to be able to officially re-open Banff Museum. It is wonderful that there is such a dedicated team of local volunteers who are enthusiastic about the museum and what it brings to the town.

“I always think that facilities such as these are much better if they have at least some input from local people who can often bring a wealth of knowledge to subjects and enhance the experience for visitors.

“I was particularly impressed by the claymore which dates from the early 1300s. It is said to be one the best preserved and coming as it does from the Scottish war of independence it represents a very important part of our history.

“The engagement of local school students in researching local smuggling activity is also to keep our local history alive.”

7 August 2013

MSP Hears of Banffshire Distillery's Global Success

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson paid a visit to Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy this afternoon.

Mr Stevenson was invited by the Scotch Whisky Association to visit a local distillery and chose Glenglassaugh. Scotch Whisky is important to the economy, employment, tourism, the environment and local communities. It plays a key role the country’s economic growth with exports generating around £4.3 billion in 2012.

Mr Stevenson was given a briefing on the business and a tour by Managing Director of Benriach Billy Walker, Group Distilleries Manager Alan McConnochie and Site Manager Mhairi McDonald.

Speaking at Glenglassaugh, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Glenglassaugh Distillery is one of the success stories of the industry of the last few years and has gone from a mothballed site, to an important contributor to the local economy producing a high-quality sought-after product.

“The company is multiplying its production nearly sixfold which tells us everything we need to know about how successful the distillery has been since it re-opened in 2008.

“The Glenglassaugh brand is making the pace in places like Russia, India and Taiwan, all of which represent important markets for the company. I’m delighted that Portsoy is giving the world one of its leading ‘boutique’ whisky brands, securing local employment and providing a boost to the local economy.”
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