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26 June 2014

Stevenson Welcomes £7 million Boost for Scottish Economy

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, has applauded energy proposals that could create a billion pound boost to the Scottish economy with significant benefits for the North-east after a vote for independence.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Once Scotland votes YES and receives independence we will have full control over the many energy sources prevalent in North-east and could become an international centre for Carbon Capture and storage in Europe.”

He welcomed the Element Energy report published last week which stated that Scotland’s infrastructure, skills base, potential storage and enhanced oil recovery sites in the central North Sea could create a Carbon Capture and storage (CCS) hub with billions of pounds worth of benefits for the Scottish and North East economy.

Mr Stevenson added:

“These large energy sources and in particular CCS, could lead to the North-east becoming the all-energy hub for Europe and bring in about £7 billion by 2050. Alongside this, an estimated 44,000 new jobs would be created. It is also projected that at least 1.4 additional barrels of oil would be produced as well.”

“Independence will place the power in our hands so that we will see the benefits of our hard work and develop our great industries to see the potential that they truly have.”

Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP added:

“The economy in Aberdeen and the North-east is one of Scotland’s success stories. The track record of the Scottish Government where we have some devolved control over our economy – including major investment in Aberdeen - demonstrates what can be done if we exercise control here in Scotland.”

Showmen's Guild Annniversary Marked in Parliament

To mark the 125th anniversary of the Scottish Showmen’s Guild, a debate was held in Parliament in which Local MSP Stewart Stevenson praised the showmen as the greatest purveyors of live entertainment during the debate.

He said:

“The Scottish Showmen’s Guild is an essential and integral part of our culture. The showmen travel around Scotland, showing us things that we might not otherwise experience. They are grounded in Scotland’s past, but they adapt to meet the needs of Scotland’s future.”

He added that people in the modern world were constantly entertained on phones, tablet devices, TV and cinema, but a high value was still put on live entertainment.

Mr Stevenson continued:

“Places where this is particularly so locally include Turriff Show and Peter Fair at Buckie where the travelling showmen make a yearly appearance. These events brings tens of thousands of people together over their duration and are an important part of our economy.”

Stevenson Welcomes National Plan for Carbon Capture

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed the launch this week of the Scottish Government’s planning vision for Scotland which includes Carbon Capture and Storage in Peterhead.

The National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) announced by Planning Minister Derek Mackay will drive long term development and local planning policy in transport, town centres, energy and infrastructure, balancing economic growth with environmental protection.

NPF3 confirmed the Government’s support for 14 large national developments, including the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Network and Thermal Generation at Peterhead Power Station.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted that the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Network has been identified as a national priority by the Scottish Government. This will insure the regeneration and reindustrialisation of the North-east, improve transport and connectivity links, and ensure sustainable development through support for low carbon energy supply and green networks.”

Planning Minister Derek Mackay MSP added:

“Our ambition is to create great places that support economic growth across the country, and together, NPF3 and the SPP set out a shared vision for Scotland as a place which benefits from a positive planning system that protects our unique environment.

“NPF3 confirms our support for 14 national developments that will drive economic growth, champion our most successful places, and support changes in areas where, in the past, there has been a legacy of decline.”

NPF3 and SPP also puts a ban on wind farm development in the 19 per cent of Scotland identified as National Parks and National Scenic Areas, and tighter controls on onshore oil and gas developments have been put in place.

Five new measures are also being introduced in relation to hydraulic fracturing; including a requirement for buffer zones, to ensure development only proceeds if communities and the environment can be protected. Operators will also have to consult with communities on their proposals.

MSP's Congrats as Boat Festival Turns 21


Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has congratulated the organisers of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival ahead of this weekend’s event on reaching its 21st year.

Commenting, Stewart said:

“This year sees the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival ‘coming of age’.

“It is a testament to the hard work, vision and enthusiasm of the organisers and volunteers that what started out as a small local commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the town’s harbour has grown into one of the country’s leading tourism events.

“Therefore, I say “congratulations” to the organisers on reaching this milestone and I look forward to many more.”

18 June 2014

Local MSP Welcomes Plans to Tackle Poverty

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed the publication of the Expert Working Group on Welfare which sets out a number of positive recommendations to improve the welfare system and tackle low pay after a YES vote.

The report suggests that the National Minimum Wage in an independent Scotland should be increased to equal the Living Wage – with the payment of Employers’ National Insurance being reduced in order to help businesses make the transition.

The increase in the National Minimum Wage would have a particularly positive impact on women, who are disproportionately likely to work in low-paid jobs, and builds on the SNP’s existing commitment to ensure the minimum wage rises at least in line with inflation after a YES vote.

Mr Stevenson said:

“This report is a welcome confirmation of the different path we can take with a Yes vote – rather than using the welfare state to punish the poorest people in my constituency, we can use it as a way to tackle poverty and as a springboard to a better life.

“The report’s recommendation that the minimum wage should be a living wage is particularly welcome.

“Too many people in Banffshire & Buchan Coast constituency, most of them women, are struggling to make ends meet in low-paying jobs. After a Yes vote we can take action to tackle the scandal of in-work poverty and ensure that people across Scotland are guaranteed the living wage – a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

Amongst a range of other recommendations, the report suggests that the link between benefits and the cost of living should be re-established, which would see benefits and tax credits increasing annually based on the Consumer Prices Index of inflation.

The Expert Working Group also recommends that the Work Capability Assessment and the current system of sanctions – for which the DWP has faced widespread criticism – should be scrapped as part of moves to make the welfare system fairer.

Mr Stevenson added:

“The UK is already the fourth most unequal society in the developed world – and with Westminster’s welfare cuts and austerity agenda continuing to bite the situation is only going to get worse.

“For many people in Scotland, the No campaign’s promises on welfare are an insult – the reality is cuts in benefits for women, children and the disabled.

“With a Yes vote we will have the powers we need to implement these plans to improve our welfare system, tackle poverty and create a more equal society – where vulnerable people are supported by the welfare system rather than penalised and where in-work poverty is a thing of the past.”

Tories Continue to Argue for Less Fisheries Funds for Scotland

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has joined other SNP MSPs in stating that Scotland’s fishing communities would be better off in an independent Scotland.

This was a response Tory MSP’s Jamie McGrigor’s statement at General Questions in the Scottish Parliament arguing that it would be wrong for fishing communities in Scotland to receive more money from the UK’s share of the European Fisheries Fund. It follows comments from newly-elected Tory MEP Ian Duncan that the Scottish fishing industry is too successful to require additional support.

Currently Scotland receives only 40 per cent of the UK share of the EU fisheries Fund, despite landing more than 80 per cent of fish caught in UK waters.

Mr Stevenson said:

“These comments from Jamie McGrigor are an insult to fishing communities across Scotland including those around my constituency of the Banffshire and Buchan Coast. That Mr McGrigor would rather defend Westminster’s failings than stand up for Scotland’s fishing industry speaks volumes about where his priorities lie.

“The fact is that Scotland’s fishing industry has been badly let down by Westminster. We currently receive the second lowest fish catch funding per tonne in the EU, with just 40 per cent of the UK’s share of the European Fisheries Fund despite landing more than 80 per cent of fish caught in UK waters.

“After a Yes vote Scotland will have our own seat at the top table in Europe – allowing us to speak up for our fishing industry not talk it down and get a better deal for Scotland’s fishing communities – rather than leaving it up to a distant Westminster government which simply doesn’t represent Scotland’s interests.”

Information from the Scottish Parliament Library also shows that Scotland gets a raw deal from the European Fisheries Fund as part of the UK, receiving the second lowest amount per tonne of average fish catch.

16 June 2014

Stevenson Urges Locals to Have Their Say on Scotland's Constitution

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast has today (Monday) urged locals in his constituency to have their say on a draft Bill which will set out how an independent Scotland will be governed.

The Scottish Independence Bill is now open for public consultation until October 20, and sets out immediate arrangements for independence, such as the role of government, human rights and the rule of law, and would form the interim written constitution. The fundamental principle underpinning the Bill is that the people are sovereign, rather than Parliament, as is the case in the UK.

Mr Stevenson said:

“The debate about Scotland’s future is engaging and enthusing people across Banffshire and the Buchan Coast. It is an intensely practical debate about how independence can improve the lives of people in Scotland.

“Currently we don’t have a written constitution, and the UK is the only country within the European Union or the Commonwealth that does not have a written constitution or a Constitution Act.”

The interim constitution proposes advancement towards nuclear disarmament, the strengthening of human rights protection, the safeguarding of the well-being of children and protection for the particular needs of local government and island communities.

Mr Stevenson added:

“In the Yes campaign we believe that the Scottish people should be sovereign, rather than our parliament. We also believe that principle should be written into the basic building blocks of an independent Scotland, the constitution which will underpin what our country is like and how it protects and empowers its citizens.

“This is a very exciting time and I would encourage everyone to have their say on the Bill. It is an exciting and unique opportunity to shape our nation, celebrate and protect our values and commit ourselves to building a better country.”

To view the consultation, go to:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/06/7881.

9 June 2014

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 Monday 16 June.

This year will be the fourteenth 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."

The full schedule can be seen at http://stewartstevensonmsp.info
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