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22 August 2014

Stevenson Welcomes Over £250K for Avenue Confidential

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast is delighted that Avenue Confidential which works across his constituency has been granted £281,410 from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Investing in Communities programme.

The funding will be channelled into the Avenue Confidential Child Contact North East Scotland project, which will enhance the provision of existing child contact centres across Moray, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I am absolutely delighted that this very worthwhile organisation has been given the recognition it deserves, and the ability to expand its services. I hope this extra funding will mean that individuals and families in our local community with the greatest need will be helped, and that improvements will be made that last a lifetime.”

New family support workers will provide an improved service at the beginning of family interventions, and will work to establish and improve relationships with a contact plan.

The local project will work with around 204 families each year, with an estimated 50 families making use of the Family Support Workers. More intensive support will be provided to those families with particularly challenging needs.

The Avenue Confidential project is just one of 11 projects across Scotland sharing in a total of £6,270,034 from Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Investing in Communities programme. The Investing in Communities fund focuses on tackling disadvantage and addressing inequalities, with three investment areas including Growing Community Assets, Life Transitions and Supporting 21st Century Life.

21 August 2014

Stevenson Praises New Development Plan for the Beef Industry

Industry experts have released a 23 point action plan designed to re-invigorate Scotland’s beef production over the next few years.

The recommendations published in the Beef 2020 final report yesterday (Wednesday) call for action in both the industry and the Scottish Government that will support sustainability and long term growth in beef production in Scotland.

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast said:

“I would like to thank the Beef 2020 group for their report on improving such an important part of Scotland’s industry. Beef production is our single biggest farming sector, which is why it is so essential that Government, industry organisations and beef producers work together to create a strong market in a global economy.”

Also included in the plan is a focus on Scotland’s climate change goals with a commitment to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of beef produced, while maintaining growth in cattle numbers.

Mr Stevenson added:

“This focus on climate-healthy progress and expansion strengthens Scotland’s industry and further proves our standing as a global force.”

The Beef 2020 final report was produced by short life industry group, chaired by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren, at the request of Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

Jim McLaren, chairman of the Beef 2020 group, said:

“The recommendations set out in the report, which are designed to be owned and adopted by the Scottish beef industry, aim to facilitate collaboration, profitability, confidence and investment at every stage of the Scottish red meat supply chain – factors which are key in ensuring a future marked by sustainable, profitable growth.”

20 August 2014

Stevenson Emphasises Dignity for Disabled People Through New Bill

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast spoke yesterday (Tuesday) in support of new legislation that aims to tackle the misuse of the Blue Badge scheme.

Click for your Blue Badge info
The Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill aims to improve the quality of life for disabled people by freeing up parking spaces for legitimate Blue Badge users.

Mr Stevenson explained that for disabled drivers this change will mean more than simply a place to park, but rather an increase in dignity.

He said:

“The core of the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill is to improve life for people with some disability that requires them to have help with parking. We need to think in terms of the dignity of the people who have a disability.

“When we ensure that there is…an actual parking place for someone who needs it because they are disabled, we confer upon that person the dignity that we are all entitled to expect. I think that the bill is excellent because it ensures that we share more widely the dignity to which we are all entitled.”

Mr Stevenson also recognised the importance of carefully enforcing the new legislation.

He added:

“Quite properly, Inclusion Scotland has focused on the potential for enforcement officers, traffic wardens and policemen to confiscate blue badges unnecessarily and inappropriately. I think that Inclusion Scotland has a valid point. That is why, in the introduction of an enforcement regime that will contribute enormously to people with disabilities, we need to be careful how we do it.”

19 August 2014

Stevenson Welcomes New Council Houses in North-East

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed new figures showing over 460 new council houses have been built in the North-east since 2009 with Scottish Government funding, providing a “huge boost” to the local economy.

Analysis shows that the Scottish Government Council House Build Programme - introduced in April 2009 – has seen more than £135m invested to provide local authority housing for people across the country.

The funding incentivises local authorities to build new homes – the first such central government support to councils in a generation.

Commenting Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is great news that this SNP Scottish Government has provided funding for more than 460 new homes in the North-east and demonstrates the scale and ambition of this programme.

“The SNP Government is on track to deliver 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland by March 2016, with 1,324 council homes built in 2013/14 alone – the highest number since a new generation of council house construction was kick-started in 2009.

"In contrast, the previous Labour/LibDem administration built just six council homes during the four years of their last term in office.

“Despite considerable challenges to the money we get back from Westminster the SNP Scottish Government plans to spend over £1.7 billion to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, supporting an estimated 8,000 jobs each year.

“However only a Yes vote and the full powers of independence will give us full control to tailor our housing supply investment and initiatives to meet the needs of our communities and the homebuilding industry in Scotland.

“It will also provide the full borrowing powers we need to invest prudently in infrastructure, and not have our capital budget dictated to us by Westminster.”

8 August 2014

Local MSP Welcomes Extra Help to Improve Hospital Patient Flow

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that an additional £5 million is to be made available to help health boards to improve the flow of patients through the health and social care services.

© Scottish Government
Health Secretary Alex Neil MSP announced the funding boost which will aid further development of intermediate care, helping people to stay in their own home instead of going into hospital in the first place, and services that support people to regain their independence so they can return home sooner after a hospital stay.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“By improving the way that patients move through hospital and are supported at home, the investment will allow people to be moved from A&E to an appropriate ward sooner and reduce the amount of unnecessary time that patients spend in hospital.

“The funding will be carefully targeted to improve performance in seven health boards, including Grampian, working with their local authority, housing and Third Sector partners.”

Health Secretary Alex Neil MSP said:

“Our NHS and its partners is making sustainable progress around exploring new and innovative ways to improve the way that patients move through our health and care services.

“We’ve already legislated for health and social care integration to come into effect from April next year, but I am clear that we must make further progress now.

“That’s why I’m targeting £5 million today to support the transition to integrated health and social care and improve patient flow through a number of hospitals and community services.
“This investment will help improve the journey of many patients through hospital and back home supported by appropriate care services so they can leave hospital as soon as they are able.

“Improving flow through hospitals not only benefits the individual patient, but also helps improve the performance in frontline services like A&E and planned operations.”

Stevenson Highlights Important Friendship Between Scotland and Malawi

Speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on Scotland and Malawi, Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, highlighted the responsibilities that Scotland holds as a friend of the African nation.

He said that tackling the issues of tobacco and climate change would be beneficial for Malawi’s future.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Two thirds of Malawi’s exports are tobacco. We are rightly seeking to remove tobacco as a major part of our society, for the health of people in our country. However, when we do that it will have a significant effect on the economy of a country such as Malawi. We therefore owe a duty to countries such as Malawi to help them cross over to a more beneficial mode of agriculture.

“We are already seeing a danger that tobacco farmers, in the face of reducing profits, move across to grow cannabis. That will not be helpful in the long term for people who are in desperate need in countries such as Malawi.”

He added:

“Climate change is making agriculture a more formidable challenge in many countries in Africa, and we in the developed world are largely responsible for that. We therefore need to ensure that we support people in Malawi, which we are already doing through a number of programmes there.

“Malawi is an important friend of ours; let us be an ever-important friend of Malawi.”
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