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30 January 2017

Local MSP Backs Scottish Government on Forestry

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has backed the Scottish Government on its ambitions for a fully devolved forestry policy.

Mr Stevenson spoke during a Parliamentary debate on developing forestry in Scotland. He focused on the importance of forestry to rural economies like the North-east and the additional benefits to climate change. In addition, he discussed the protections afforded by forests to biodiversity and general wellbeing.

The Scottish Parliament agreed that forests make a significant contribution to Scotland. Furthermore it agreed on the importance of cross-border working to tackle issues of research, development and disease prevention. The debate also highlighted the important role that forests will have in tackling climate change and the need to work in partnership with local authorities across Scotland.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“I welcome the fact that the Scottish Government is looking to expand our forest and woodland area. Full devolution of forestry and going with a regional approach gives us a real opportunity. It’s an opportunity to further develop a forestry policy that works for rural areas – like the North-east.

“I agree we should maintain cross-border research and development. It’s also crucial that we work in partnership with local organisations. Partnering with local authorities will ensure we get the best forestry strategies for our communities.”

“The benefits are obvious. Forestry provides thousands of jobs across Scotland and can assist us on our climate change targets – seeing as trees absorb CO2 and are a largely carbon neutral fuel. Forests also play a central role in protecting biodiversity and have beneficial effects on health. The Scottish Government’s ambitions will bring immense benefits.”

Stevenson Calls for Protection of Rural Development Funding

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has called for the protection of rural development funding that benefits much of the North-east.

Mr Stevenson spoke during a Parliamentary debate on the future of funding for rural development. He focused on the importance of public funding for the Scottish rural economy and the benefits of the Leader programme.

The Scottish Parliament agreed that EU funding is important to the rural economy and that the UK Government is failing on to provide Scotland with its fair share of funding. In addition to stating that the UK Government must ensure that appropriate funding is available to support farmers, land managers and rural communities to meet biodiversity and climate change targets.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“The North-east has benefitted hugely from rural development funding. Programmes like LEADER have invested thousands of pounds across the North-east. Just last month another £64,000 was secured by the Macduff Scout Group to improve their local Scout hut. It’s essential that we get certainty on rural development funding. Currently this comes through the Common Agriculture Payments – beyond 2020 we have no commitment.

“Recent comments by Conservative MP George Eustice worry me – he wrote earlier this month, ‘No more subsidies post 2020 for farmers.’ That kind of language is incredibly threatening to those living in rural Scotland. What’s more is that our demands in the North-east are very different from those of England. It’s critical that the UK Government acknowledge this and ensure that Scotland gets appropriate funding post-2020 – it’s the only way we’ll get a level playing field across the UK.

“This kind of uncertainty is neither fair nor acceptable. Our farmers, crofters, and wider rural community deserve a promise of funding beyond 2020. The longer the UK Government fails to commit, the worse it looks for communities like ours."

27 January 2017

Early Years Workforce Expansion to Benefit Communities in North-East

Scottish Government Investment Welcomed by Local MSP

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has backed the Scottish Government announcement of an extra £1.5 million investment for more nursery teachers and graduates in deprived areas across Scotland­ – with Aberdeenshire Council Area set to receive six additional teachers or graduates.

The new staff in the North-east, part of 435 nationwide, is part of the wider strategy of tackling the attainment gap and giving every child an equal start in life. The provision of extra high qualified childcare professionals will ensure that young people in the North-east benefit from the highest quality care and early years education.

The Scottish Government is taking decisive action to improve early years learning and childcare, including expanding guaranteed free provision to 1140 hours by 2020 – which will have a positive impact for families across the North-east.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“This new funding is very welcome news for the North-east, helping to ensure that more children in our most deprived communities are able to benefit from specialised childcare and high quality early years learning.

“The Scottish Government is committed to closing the attainment gap, and targeting funding in this way, as well as expanding the guaranteed free childcare provision to 1140 hours by 2020, is important in making this happen, and to ensure that every child across the North-east gets an equal start in life.

“The six new graduates or teachers that will be joining our workforce will help improve childcare provision in our communities, and I look forward to seeing the Scottish Government continue to invest in our children’s futures.”

26 January 2017

Tories are Stifling Investment in Carbon Capture Storage Technology

Local MSP Backs Call to Turn Around Toxic Tory Legacy on Renewables

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has backed a call for the Tories to “stop stifling investment” in Carbon Capture Storage technology and put it “at the top of the agenda”.

The challenge to the UK Government came after SNP MP Phil Boswell, who was a member of the CCS Advisory Group that reported directly to the UK Government, led a debate on UK decarbonisation and carbon capture and storage technology in the House of Commons last week.

A recent report from the National Audit Office revealed the UK Government spent a staggering £100 million on a competition for developing ground-breaking carbon capture and storage technology before scrapping the plans - the scheme would have led to emissions from heavy industry stored permanently underground.

The project - which would have brought hundreds of jobs to the area - was scrapped by the then Chancellor George Osborne at the eleventh hour, betraying Scotland’s energy sector and wasting taxpayer’s money to ultimately deliver nothing.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“Carbon Capture Storage technology has great potential to play a leading role in tackling climate change but instead of encouraging this sector the Tories are stifling investment - as well as showing a complete disregard for developing and protecting jobs in the north-east of Scotland.

“The National Audit Office report contained extraordinary revelations about the shambolic way the UK government handled this hugely important scheme and should have prompted the Tories into immediate action to get CCS back to the top of the agenda.

"The long term prospects for green investment in the UK remain worryingly uncertain, with investment in renewable energy set to drop by 95% between 2017 and 2020. The SNP fervently believe that it is the responsibility of every government to support the transition to a low carbon economy for future generations to come.

"Scotland is a world leader in tackling climate change and I’m proud the SNP Scottish Government has launched a new climate change action plan which sets ambitious targets to further reduce our carbon emissions.

“We call on the UK Government to turn around their otherwise toxic legacy, and support decarbonisation, and the skills and jobs, as well as energy and environmental security that come with it.”

MSP Hails Funding Haul for Local Community

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has hailed the successful funding applications of 5 local community groups.

The local organisations will benefit from a total haul of £41,837 from the Big Lottery Fund, Awards for All Scotland programme.

Mr Stevenson has laid a congratulatory motion for each organisation in the Scottish Parliament and has wished them the best of luck for their respective projects.

The successful applicants included the Grange Community Association which secured £10,000, St Peter’s RC Primary School which secured £10,000, the Cullen Community Allotment Association which secured £5,034, Ordiquhill Primary School which secured £8,583 and the King Edward School which secured £8,220.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“I am delighted for each of these organisations. This £41,837 in funding is a boon for our community in the North-east. We really have a wide range of projects – several school projects, an allotment project and a community hall project. Local people have really taken the initiative here and are on course to deliver some brilliant changes for the area. I’m thoroughly impressed.

“Awards for All Scotland is an excellent programme that gives groups across our country the opportunity to apply for grants of between £500 and £10,000 for various projects. I encourage all of our community groups to apply for funding.

“What’s great is that these projects bring communities together, improve local space and help communities become more active. This funding will play a central role in the upgrading of important community space. This is an achievement for these organisations and I’m looking forward to seeing their projects come to fruition.”


  • Grange Community Association –This organisation organises social and fundraising events for King Memorial Hall. The group will use the funding for the modernisation of the ladies and gents toilets and the construction of a new disabled toilet.
  • St Peter’s RC Primary School – This project will develop the playground facilities for the primary school and associated nursery by redeveloping the existing space. They plan to install an active trail, a drawing trail, a tepee, perch benches, and musical panels.
  • Cullen Community Allotment Association –This group lease a 2 acre allotment site just outside Cullen which contains 34 plots for local use. The group will use the funding to upgrade the site and attract new users by improving the community meeting space, path network and water accessibility.
  • Ordiquhill Primary School – This project will install play equipment in the school playground for use by pupils and the wider community outside of school hours.
  • King Edward School – This project will develop the playground facilities for the school and local community by providing musical, creative learning and exploration equipment, as well as seating and planters.

Scotland Must Choose Its Own Future If All Attempts To Compromise Are Rejected

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has condemned the Prime Minister’s failure to compromise and pursue sound economic policy.

The Prime Minister has made it clear the UK is heading for an economically disastrous hard Brexit.

Nearly seven months since the referendum - the Scottish Government is still the only administration to publish a detailed plan on how to deal with Brexit and the economic, social, democratic and cultural risks associated with it.

Scotland did not vote for a hard Tory Brexit and the Scottish Government is doing all it can to make sure the Tories cannot ignore and act against Scotland’s interests.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“Theresa May today confirmed that she plans to take the UK towards an economically dangerous hard Brexit. The Prime Minister has chosen to pander to the obsessions of the hard-right of her Tory party, rather than act in the best interests of the country.

“The Prime Minister’s speech made it clear she’s looking at replacing our membership of the single market with a low wage, de-regulated economy that would see a race to the bottom - leaving everyone worse off as a result.

“If the Tories get away with dragging Scotland out of the Single Market they’ll think they can get away with anything.

“The Scottish Government has published compromise proposals that will keep Scotland in the Single Market and the Tories at Westminster must now show they are taking these plans seriously.

“The Tory government must not be able to take Scotland out of the single market, regardless of the impact on our economy, jobs, living standards and our reputation as an open, tolerant country, without Scotland having the ability to choose between that and a better future.”

23 January 2017

Fish Processing Sector Set for Brexit Hammering

£1,000 Tory Worker Levy Would Devastate Seafood Industry

Fish processors in the North East of Scotland would be disproportionately hammered by reckless Tory plans to slap a £1,000 levy on EU workers in the UK following a hard Brexit.

The seafood processing sector employs thousands of EU citizens, with the workforce largely concentrated at individual sites in the North East.

Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill suggested that firms could be charged £1,000 each year for every EU worker they employ. The anti-business plans have been labelled xenophobic by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt who is one of the EU’s chief Brexit negotiators and even criticised by senior Tory Anna Soubry who blasted the proposals as a “tax on successful businesses”.

Figures reveal that individual businesses could be stung particularly hard by the proposed tax. Buchan’s Macduff Shellfish, for example, has a workforce of around 500 people – with 79 per cent of them non-UK EU citizens. That would mean a £395,000 annual levy imposed by the Tory government on this single business.

Around 3,000 EU citizens work in the seafood processing sector alone – with thousands more in the wider food and drink industry. The misguided Tory attack on foreign workers would mean a multi-million pound bill imposed on businesses in the North East.

Commenting, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The Tories are moving further and further to the right at an alarming rate.

“Their plans to tax firms an excess based on the number of European workers they have on the books are discriminatory, deeply disturbing and potentially crippling in terms of business.

“But sadly that comes with the territory of a hard Brexit, characterised by xenophobia and Tory politicians finally peeling back the mask to reveal a dangerous and divisive agenda.

“In my constituency alone, firms could face charges up to half a million pounds just for having the ‘audacity’ to hire workers with the right set of skills who have chosen to make Scotland their home. Many firms would face the very real consequence of cutting jobs or even facing closure.

“It’s incumbent upon Ruth Davidson to distance herself from these comments and to make the case to her bosses at Westminster that Scotland shouldn’t suffer as a result of a Tory hard Brexit led by the loony right-wingers in her own party.

“Before and after the referendum last year she championed Scotland remaining in the single market. It’s time she proved she’s a politician of her word.”

20 January 2017

Carbon Capture Betrayal Cost Taxpayer £100 Million

Tories "Utterly Misguided" on CCS Decision

The UK Government spent around £100 million on a competition for developing ground-breaking carbon capture and storage technology before scrapping the plans, a report from the National Audit Office has revealed.

The scheme would have seen emissions from heavy industry stored permanently underground, with Peterhead widely expected to win the £1 billion contract, which would have brought 600 jobs to the area. It was scrapped at the eleventh hour by former Chancellor George Osborne – betraying the party’s explicit manifesto promise on the technology.
UK Government Signing Agreement Now Reneged Upon
SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, has said the latest revelations show how little the Tories care about investment in green energy technology and jobs in the North-east.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“These latest revelations from the National Audit Office are extraordinary, and show how that the Tory betrayal of the North East has not just cost jobs but has cost a fortune to deliver nothing.

“Just yesterday, the Scottish Government launched its climate action plan, setting ambitious targets to further reduce our carbon emissions and to tackle climate change. But today we are given yet another reminder that the Tories are happy to put the development of innovative, ground-breaking technologies to waste.

“CCS technology has great potential to play a leading role in tackling climate change, yet the Tories are complicit in stifling investment to develop this technology, as well as showing their complete lack of interest in developing and protecting jobs in the North-East of Scotland.”

Stevenson to Meet with Clydesdale Bank on Closures

Commenting on the announcement by the Clydesdale Bank that it is to close 40 branches nationwide, including those in Buckie, Banff and Fraserburgh, Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“I will be meeting with Clydesdale Bank senior management along with my MP colleagues to discuss their planned closures.

“Clearly, the way people do their banking is changing, with more and more of it done online and by phone, reducing the amount of footfall in branches.

“However, there is still a significant need for businesses, organisations and individuals to be able to deposit their shop takings, collect change, bank cheques, and also to be able to speak to staff face-to-face.

“If the Clydesdale Bank is effectively giving up on certain larger communities, then I would encourage those communities to support those banks which still have a presence in Buckie, Banff and Fraserburgh to help secure their future.”

17 January 2017

Stevenson Blasts May for Ignoring Fisheries in Brexit Speech

SNP MSP Demands Scottish Government Representation at EU Fisheries Talks

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has condemned Theresa May after she failed to clarify the future of fisheries after Brexit in her speech this morning – with the only mention of fishing being an unclear reference to “Spanish fishermen”.

The Tory PM’s speech came ahead of a members’ debate, in which Mr Stevenson will call on the UK government to allow a Scottish Minister to lead UK negotiations over fisheries in the forthcoming Brexit talks. Scottish fishing interests were treated as expendable by the Tories in the 1970s, and Mr Stevenson will demand that the UK government does not let this happen again in the negotiations over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

This morning, Theresa May took time to tell “Spanish fishermen” that they’d be worse off without the UK but provided no detail on what Brexit will mean for Scotland’s fishing industry, which accounts for 85% of the value of the UK fishing industry. The confirmation by the Prime Minister that the UK will leave the single market is damaging, with Scottish fish and seafood exports to the EU totalling £438 million in 2015.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“The hard Tory Brexit that Theresa May is set to deliver will be devastating for Scotland, costing 80,000 jobs and hitting our economy by £11.2 billion a year. The fishing industry will feel the impact of this, with loss of single market membership risking the £438 million of Scottish fish and seafood exports to the EU – yet Theresa May had absolutely nothing to say on Scottish fisheries this morning.

“The Prime Minister’s approach is wholly unacceptable. The fact that she only mentioned fishing when telling ‘Spanish fishermen’ that they’d be worse off without a deal between the EU and the UK – which will be sure to raise eyebrows in fishing communities – whilst providing no detail on what fishing in Scotland will look like after her hard Brexit. This just shows that the Tories see our fishing fleets as expendable once again.

“Scotland’s fishing interests in Europe must be properly represented and fully protected, and the only way for that to happen is by allowing a Scottish minister to lead for the UK when negotiations get under way.

“It is not a perfect solution, but it is the best insurance policy. Given that Scottish fisheries account for 85% of the value of the UK fishing industry, it’s the fair and sensible approach.

“The Scottish fishing industry has been treated as expendable by the Tory government in the past – using our resources as a bargaining chip when entering the EEC in the 1970s. We must not allow the Tories to sell us down the river yet again.”

14 January 2017

MSP Backs Global Goals in International Development

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has backed the Scottish Government’s position that Scotland continue to play a key role in international development.

Mr Stevenson spoke during a Parliamentary debate on the Scottish Government’s Global Citizenship strategy for international development. He highlighted the importance of international cooperation for tackling poverty and climate change both in Scotland and around the world.

The Scottish Government’s motion called for a holistic approach to sustainable development and reaffirming a cross-party collaborative approach to international development. It emphasized the positive role of the concept of good global citizenship and how working in partnership creates mutual progress toward achieving UN Global Goals, such as eradicating poverty and hunger.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“I’m delighted to see this continued commitment to working with developing countries. By working in partnership, we have a chance to learn from one another. It allows us to tackle climate change and poverty from our front door to the farthest corners of the earth – giving solidarity to principles we firmly believe in at home.

“We live in a time where people are questioning the basis for international cooperation and good global citizenship. This strategy gives Scotland the chance to be a voice for humanity, tolerance and compassion. It allows us to unite with other countries to put forward those principles.

“We may be a smaller country but we have a big voice. I’m glad that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government have stood up for what we believe in. The world needs us to stand up – now more than ever."

Increase in Number of New Business Start-Ups in North-East

SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the positive 10% growth in the number of new business start-ups in Aberdeenshire over the last five years.

The SNP Government’s support for businesses in Scotland has helped create a healthier business climate in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, which has experienced a 19% decline in the number of start-ups since 2011.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“The SNP Government’s efforts to help businesses thrive and boost economic growth are really paying off in the North-east, which has seen an encouraging 10% increase in Aberdeenshire for the number of new start-ups over the last five years.

“Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK in terms of new start-ups, and many Scottish Government initiatives have helped this growth - including the Small Business Bonus that has already delivered more than £1 billion in savings as well as the £500m Scottish Growth Scheme.

“Finding the finance to start a business is not easy and the £40m SME Holding Fund - established by EU funding at the end of last year - represents a great opportunity for business people seeking to get their ideas off the ground, and is projected to create 2,000 jobs in Scotland.”

13 January 2017

Tories Wrong on Broadband Claims

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the Scottish Government’s re-iteration of its commitment to provide broadband to 100% of Scottish homes by 2021.

The move comes after a Tory MSP issued a press statement wrongly claiming that some rural communities had been told they would not be included in the national roll-out. It is the second time in just over a week that the Tories have been caught issuing inaccurate and misleading statements, having made an error with their claims on ambulance response times.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“I wish to thank the Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, for confirming the Scottish Government’s previously stated commitment to ensuring all properties have access to broadband by 2021.

“I am aware that there has been some scaremongering locally by Conservative MSP Peter Chapman on this matter. I would like to take this opportunity to assure the public that the Scottish Government’s commitment is firm, and reports to the contrary are seemingly based on nothing more than Conservative misinformation.

“On December 21, the Cabinet Secretary informed the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee - of which both Mr Chapman and I are members - that the first phase of the Broadband roll-out was on schedule to reach 95% of properties by the end of this year. At the same meeting, the Cabinet Secretary stated that had it not been for the contract, planned commercial coverage would have reached only 66% of properties in Scotland.“

“I find it puzzling that Mr Chapman would go to the press urging swift action on this matter rather than questioning the Cabinet Secretary directly when he had the opportunity - especially as his only questions at that committee related to trees. I am uncertain of the source of Mr Chapman’s assertions that some communities were not to be included in the roll out of Broadband.

“What is certain today, though, is that the Scottish Government is 100% committed to supplying broadband to 100% of Scottish properties by the end of this Parliamentary term.”

Parliamentarians Welcome Increased Ambulance Cover in Peterhead

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP and Stewart Stevenson MSP have welcomed news that ambulance cover has been increased in advance of an additional ambulance and paramedic team being established at Peterhead.

The SNP parliamentarians have been in ongoing communication with the Scottish Ambulance Service with the objective of improving service cover and response times throughout north Aberdeenshire. In response to a request for a progress report, confirmation was received from the local Head of Ambulance Services that the Scottish Ambulance Service has received additional funding from the Scottish Government for the specific purpose of increasing the staffing establishment at Peterhead Ambulance Station by twelve new staff and a third ambulance.

The Scottish Ambulance Service reports towards that target with the appointment of eight new ambulance staff which has allowed the Ambulance Service to provide increased cover at the Peterhead station, and a second unit being made available for 24/7 emergency cover over the last four weeks.

The recruitment process is ongoing to fill the remaining four new posts as well as managing staff turnover, and once those vacancies are filled, the Service will introduce a third ambulance.

Writing to the parliamentarians, Euan Esslemont, Head of Ambulance Services for the North Division (East) said:

“I would like to reassure you that the Scottish Ambulance Service remains fully committed to increasing ambulance cover and ambulance resources at Peterhead Ambulance Station and work is ongoing in this regard. Finance resources are available and recruitment and training of new staff remains a high priority.”

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP remarked:

“I am delighted that the SNP Government has delivered on its commitment to provide the additional funding necessary, and that our ongoing engagement with the Scottish Ambulance Service has resulted in an improvement in emergency cover for Peterhead and the surrounding area.

“The forthcoming provision of an additional ambulance will provide a further extension of service provision for our constituents and, very importantly, will help to reduce the pressure on our hard-working and dedicated paramedic teams”.

Stewart Stevenson MSP added:

“The Scottish Ambulance Service offers a substantial local career opportunity and excellent training package for those interested in attaining the highest standards of competence and compassion which is demonstrated by our ambulance personnel.

“Anyone interested in seeking employment should log on to www.scottishambulance.com for further information and application details for a career in the Scottish Ambulance Service - and an occupation which rightly draws the respect and admiration of the people which they serve.”

Stevenson Champions Human Rights in Scottish Parliament

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has backed the Scottish Government’s proposal to maintain the UK’s recognition of international human rights mechanisms.

Mr Stevenson spoke during a Parliamentary debate on the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Mr Stevenson emphasised the critical importance of international human rights mechanisms and the historical events underpin the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Scottish Government’s motion that called on the UK Government not to undertake any action that undermines Scotland’s participation in international human rights mechanisms, including, the ECHR. The motion also recorded the Scottish Government’s opposition to any loss in Scotland of human rights, equality, social protection and safeguards. The motion passed by 93 to 30, every party united behind the Government motion except the Scottish Tories.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“People around the world have suffered through wars, death and torture to secure the rights we now enjoy. These rights have not come cheaply and as elected representatives, it is our duty to protect them.

“International cooperation on human rights is vital. It ensures that regardless of our differences – whether you live in Peterhead or Paris – you’re entitled to the same protection. The Second World War is a clear example why we should share responsibility on human rights. These agreements are a failsafe for when internal democratic protections erode or fail.

“Every party in the Scottish Parliament supported protecting our human rights – except one – the Tories. Tory PM Theresa May has already said she wants to scrap the 1998 Human Rights Act and plans a campaign on taking us out of the ECHR. The Tories dream of a world where there are no social protections – a world they can exploit to their hearts content. We can’t let that happen.”

12 January 2017

Jobs Boost for North-East as Scottish Tourism Booms

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has hailed new tourism figures for Scotland.

The number of people working in tourism in Aberdeenshire Council Area increased by 8% in one year, new figures show – with Scotland as a whole seeing an increase of 11 per cent.

The statistics produced by Visit Scotland show that tourism supports 8,300 jobs in Aberdeenshire, 8% of total jobs in the area.

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of people employed in the sector across Scotland grew to 217,000 – with the 11 per cent increase in Scotland above the 4 per cent rise in Great Britain as a whole.

The 217,000 members of the Scottish tourism industry represent 9 per cent of the country’s total employment and is the highest tourism level since Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) records began in 2009.

41% of staff in the tourism industry work in restaurants, 24% in hotels and other accommodation and 17% in bars and related businesses.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“Our tourism industry is going from strength to strength and this increase in jobs shows the vital role that tourism plays in Scotland’s economy and particularly in the North-east.

“Scotland is famed for its warm welcome, incredible scenery and top class attractions – and with 2017 the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we are celebrating our exceptional historical attractions.

“With Scotland ranked second in the Rough Guides list of the best countries in the world to visit this year, tourism in the North-east has a very bright future.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said,

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.

“These fantastic new figures show that, from hotel owners to waiting staff, tourism really is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow. They also demonstrate the industry’s commitment to the 2020 strategy – which aims to generate economic growth through tourism.”

5 January 2017

New Survey Launched to Help Shape Scotland's National Transport Policy

SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson is encouraging individuals, organisations and communities in the North-east to give their views in the new Transport Scotland survey that will help shape the long-term vision for the Scottish Government’s transport policies.

The National Transport Strategy (NTS) review will contribute towards formulating a plan for the kind of transport we want for the whole of Scotland in 20 years’ time and how we plan to get there.

The early engagement survey is available online until spring 2017. It will be followed by a wider programme of national engagement beginning in summer 2017 ahead of a full public consultation.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“The SNP is committed to giving stakeholders and communities across Scotland a greater say in influencing the development of transport policy at the local, regional and national level. I would encourage as many of my constituents as possible in the North-east to take this chance to have your views heard and contribute to the National Transport Strategy survey available online until spring this year.

“This NTS review is intended to be a collaborative listening exercise garnering views from members of the public and interested organisations from across Scotland to help shape the future of transport in Scotland.

“The SNP government will be working closely throughout the review with Regional Transport Partnerships, local authorities and other key stakeholders through the NTS Review Partnership Group.”

To take part in the survey visit the National Transport Strategy Web Page.

Stevenson Congratulates Bruce of the Broch on Pastry Award

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has tabled a motion congratulating Alistair Bruce of Bruce of the Broch, Fraserburgh, on his shops recent haul of awards, including, a diamond award from the Scottish Craft Butchers Pastry Awards for its chicken & mealie pie.

The Scottish Craft Butchers New Year’s Honours List, which revealed the awards, also awarded Bruce of the Broch with one gold award for its Scotch pies and three silver awards for their sausage rolls, steak and stilton pies, and chicken curry pies.
Bruce of the Broch was one of around 60 butchers from across Scotland who collectively submitted nearly 300 different hand crafted pies, sausage rolls and bridies which were judged across six categories in one of the industry’s most keenly contested awards.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“Congratulations to Alistair Bruce and his team at Bruce of the Broch. I’m extremely proud to have a diamond award winner in my constituency – the diamond only goes to the best of the best. Their success shows, once again, the kind of outstanding food products we make in the North-east.

“Bruce of the Broch is an exceptional Fraserburgh business and makes good use of locally-sourced meat and fresh ingredients. Not only did they win a diamond award, but managed a haul of gold and silver awards – clearly their attention to quality has paid off. I wish them continued success and look forward to sampling some of their award winning pies.”

4 January 2017

Local MSP Secures Debate on SFF 'A Sea of Opportunity' Campaign

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has secured a Parliamentary Members’ debate on the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s (SFF) ‘A Sea of Opportunity’ campaign.

Mr Stevenson secured cross party support for a Members’ debate on the points made by the SFF ‘A Sea of Opportunity’ campaign. The motion draws attention to the opportunities that will emerge for Scotland’s coastal communities resulting from full control of fishing in the offshore economic zone. The motion continues by emphasising the assertion by the SFF – that UK fishing interests can be best protected by allowing a minister from Scotland to lead upcoming Brexit fishing negotiations.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“It’s essential that the Scottish Parliament have these kinds of debates. Scottish fishing has historically been underrepresented in international negotiations – it’s time that ended. It’s time we listen to our fishing communities and this debate is part of that listening process.

“This debate will allow us to discuss how to ensure a thriving, sustainable UK fishing industry. Full control of our coastal waters is an incredible opportunity for our coastal communities – It’s vital we protect that. In December, the Tories refused to unite behind fishing during our annual fisheries debate. They alone, out of five parties in the Scottish Parliament, failed to send UK and Scottish fishing a clear message of support. I hope they use this opportunity to finally unite behind our fishing communities.

“By responding to the ‘Sea of Opportunity’ campaign, the Parliament has the chance to clarify its own position and recognise the role the Scottish Government should have in fishing negotiations. The Scottish Government have made clear that a post-Brexit Scotland should be outside the Common Fisheries Policy but should also have tariff-free access to the European Single Market. The SFF believe it’s important that the Scottish Government have a lead role in future negotiations and I look forward to supporting that position.”
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