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15 July 2019

Stevenson Welcomes Scottish Wind Power Figures

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed figures which show wind power hit a record high during the first six month of 2019.

According to figures from Weather Energy it has been calculated that the energy produced by turbines could power every home in Scotland and part of the North of England.

Mr Stevenson, a member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, has welcomed the latest figures which have been described by WWF Scotland as a “wind energy revolution”.

The period to June, is understood to have seen the equivalent of 4.47 million homes’ consumption supplied by wind power.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“These figures show the potential, once again, for wind energy as a source of power in the North-East and across the whole of Scotland.

“Onshore wind provides the opportunity for clean, green electricity and this demonstrates clearly that it is now a major player in the UK energy market.”

11 July 2019

Stevenson Welcomes £32.5 million Scottish Government Investment in Moray Growth Deal

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed today’s announcement of the Moray Growth Deal, which sees the Westminster Government matching the £32.5 million invested by the Scottish Government.
Stewart at Findochty
The Moray Growth Deal will see £65 million invested in creating high-value jobs, strengthening local communities and safeguarding the future of the local economy.

The Scottish Government will invest up to £32.5 million in Moray over 10 to 15 years to drive inclusive economic growth across the region, with the UK Government matching the funding over a 15 year period.

The investment will fund targeted economic development activity across a range of themes, including infrastructure, transport, tourism, energy and skills.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson, whose constituency includes the eastern part of the Moray Council area, said:

“The Moray Growth Deal has the potential to be transformational for the region and is a major investment in the area by the Scottish Government, with matching funds from Westminster.

“I’d like to thank all those involved for getting the Moray Growth Deal across the line, particularly those at Moray Council and their partner agencies.

“Separately from the Moray Growth Deal, we also have of course huge investment from the Scottish Government in the Inverness to Aberdeen rail link and also the A96 dualling project, both of which will make Moray and Banffshire more accessible and attractive. It’s clear that the North-east is going places under the SNP Government.”

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead, who made the announcement on behalf of the Scottish Government, said:

“The Moray Growth Deal will make a real lasting difference to the future of the region and inject confidence into the economy, improving the quality of life for local people.

“Successful delivery of this deal will create new high-value jobs, help safeguard the local economy and strengthen Moray’s communities. I am grateful to Moray Council and all their partners for their hard work in getting to this stage, and I recognise the important involvement of the community in developing the deal proposals.

“We will continue our dialogue with our Moray partners on projects that will have a transformative effect on the Moray economy. We will announce a Heads of Terms agreement as soon as possible, which will specify which projects will be supported by this significant joint investment.

“The Scottish Government has so far committed more than £1.7 billion over the next 10 to 20 years to City Region and Growth Deals and related investments across Scotland.”

The specific projects and activities to be supported will be announced over the coming months, as part of a Heads of Terms agreement, following detailed discussions with the UK Government on their investment in the deal.

Stevenson Comments On HMP Grampian Inspection Report

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised staff and management at HMP Grampian following publication of a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland.

The report found that in the nine standard assessments, eight were rated as either Good, Satisfactory or Generally Acceptable. Preparation of prisoners for a successful return to their communities received the best rating within the report.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The staff at HMP Grampian are to be commended on this report. For me, the measure of the success of a prison is whether those who are released from it are prepared for a return to day-to-day life as someone who contributes to society, and not someone who goes on to re-offend and end up costing the taxpayer more money as they go through the justice system.

“It’s clear from this report that, despite some challenges, the staff at HMP Grampian are carrying on the ethos of the old HMP Peterhead. Back then, the officers charged with custody of what was then a sex-offender population were a team who were highly motivated in their jobs by doing their utmost to protect the public by ensuring their inmates got every support to make them not re-offend. Prevention of re-offending remains a top priority for the staff.

“Bringing together two prisons with very different cultures in HMP Peterhead and HMP Craiginches was always going to present some challenges, but the report states the


“inspection team found an establishment that had matured, and despite a small number of significant incidents in 2018, was largely calm and purposeful with emerging signs of stability and progress”.

“There are issues highlighted in the report which require to be addressed, and I will be raising some of those with the authorities, but overall this is a very positive report.”

10 July 2019

Over 27,000 People In North-East To Lose Free TV Licence

UK Government Under Pressure To Act As Tories Hammer Older People

Thousands of people in North-east Scotland will be hit by the Tory government’s decision to scrap the free TV licence for over-75s, new figures have revealed.

It is estimated that over 27,000 of over-75s people in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City will be forced to pay an extra £154.50 in household bills when the free TV licence policy for over-75s is axed.

The SNP has renewed calls on the UK Government to ensure the free TV licence is fully-funded, and can continue to benefit households and elderly people across Scotland and the UK.

Commenting, local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“A decade of damaging Tory government cuts has left older people in Scotland worse off – and it’s concerning to see that the decision to axe the free TV licence will hit over 27,000 over-75s in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City.

"This is yet another broken Tory manifesto commitment which will take money out of the pockets of older people.

"It is time this Tory government finally made the welfare of our older population a priority – instead of making things even worse by taking away key benefits.

"The Tories should urgently stop this swindle and ensure that the TV license for over-75s is be properly funded and protected.”

MSP's Delight As Peterhead To Get Third Post Office

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has reacted with delight after receiving confirmation from Post Office management that a new Post Office Branch will open in Peterhead next month.

Located at the Londis Store in Blackhouse Terrace, the new branch will mean Peterhead once again has three Post Offices after the closure of Buchanhaven Post Office several years ago.

Welcoming the news, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“This is excellent news for Peterhead and I’m delighted at this expansion in Post Office services locally. It’s particularly pleasing as the shop where the new Post Office will be located was itself closed until the new owner refurbished it and brought it back into use last year.

“When Buchanhaven Post Office closed several years ago I made representations at the time saying that it was a valued local service and changes in the way people access banking services and online shopping meant Post Offices would become more and more important. It’s taken a while for the UK Government to realise this but with a further reduction in banking services and the growth of internet shopping, the Post Office really is more important than ever now and I’m sure the new branch will be an asset to the community.”

Peterhead North & Rattray SNP councillor Anne Allan added:

“I very much welcome today’s announcement by the Post Office. It was a fairly short-sighted action to close Buchanhaven Post Office but the new Blackhouse Post Office will more than fill that gap and I wish the new Sub-postmaster every success going forward.”

5 July 2019

Busy MSP Completes Successful Surgery Tour

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson completed his annual surgery tour last week, clocking-up nearly 40 surgeries in communities across the constituency.
Mr Stevenson’s record of holding surgeries is second to none and makes him one of the most accessible MSPs in the country, having held over 1170 surgeries since he was elected.

Commenting, Stewart said:

“Most of the casework I receive from constituents these days comes in via e-mail, post or by phone, but I think it’s still very important to be available for face-to-face discussions in people’s own communities and the Surgery Tour serves that purpose very well.

“People brought a range of issues to me, which I am progressing with the relevant authorities.

“Over the years, many thousands of people have been in touch through one of my surgeries. It’s not always possible to achieve the outcome that people are seeking with a particular issue or problem, but on many occasions, simply the act of writing a letter on Parliamentary-headed paper on someone’s behalf is enough to make the powers that be or private companies sit up and pay attention to someone’s problem. Being able to help people in this way is both a pleasure and a privilege and I’m pleased to be able to do so.

“I’ll be holding more surgeries of the conventional type across the larger towns in the coming months but in the meantime, any constituent wishing to contact me can do so in a range of ways; by phone, e-mail, post, calling in at my Constituency Office or online via my website, www.stewartstevenson.scot, which also has full details of how to get in touch.”

Arrangements are already being made for Stewart’s next round of surgeries, which will take place next month.
Stewart at Findochty

Banffshire MSP Expresses Concern Over Whisky Tariff Threats

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed his concerns over the threats of tariffs for Scotch whisky as part of an ongoing trade war between the EU and the US.

Commenting Stewart Stevenson said:

“There is a danger that Scotch whisky will be caught-up in this long-running trade dispute between the United States and the EU and I’m very concerned about that.

“Our exports of Scotch whisky to the United States were worth over £1billion last year with global sales absolutely vital to the Banffshire economy. Our local distilleries have benefited from duty-free access to the US and EU markets for decades, and any proposal to introduce tariffs would cause serious damage to the industry.

“With the huge uncertainty facing the industry over Brexit, this is the last thing it needs. We can’t afford for Scotch whisky to be caught in the cross-fire – we need the UK Government to make urgent representations to the EU to ensure that Scotch whisky is not collateral damage to this long-term dispute.”

3 July 2019

Positive Figures Show Rise in Operations Across NHS Grampian

Figures have revealed more than 2,500 operations were undertaken by NHS Grampian compared with the previous year.

The findings have been welcomed by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin and Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson.

The latest elective surgery statistics were released by ISD Scotland and show the health board has performed 2,543 operations more than in the same time period last year and 2,210 more than in 2017.

ISD figures also highlighted how the lowest proportion of operations cancelled in almost four years.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP and Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“These results from ISD Scotland are extremely positive.

“We recognise there has been a number of innovative projects which have helped to create extra capacity as well as improving the experience of patients.

“This includes the ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) Scheme which has helped to create extra free beds at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.

“We would like to thank all the staff at NHS Grampian for their determination and diligence in the past year which has led to an increase.”

The health board undertook more than 3,120 elective procedures in May with 7.6% (257) of those scheduled in the region not taking place, including almost 100 cancelled by patients and 88 for clinical reasons.

NHS Grampian also performed ahead of the Scottish average of 1.7%, with 1.6% of scheduled elective procedures postponed for non-clinical reasons – the lowest figure for this measure for the region in three years.

Stevenson Welcomes North-East Funding Boost

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed funding for a trio of groups in the North-East.

It comes after the latest round of funding from the National Lottery Awards for all Scotland were announced.

The Three Kings Cullen Association received a £6,500 cash-boost which will be used to install a second toilet in their community centre to provide separate facilities for the groups hiring rooms and residential guests.

And Peterhead & District Men’s Shed received a £10,000 award to erect a third wheelchair accessible workshop for multiple activities including space for crafts and building projects, a teaching space and a free community space for groups to meet.

Gardenstown Community Hub was also awarded £6,000 of funding which will be used for a ramp and accessible toilet in their newly-acquired community hub.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"I am delighted than more than £20,000 of funding has been secured in total across these organisations

“They all do such vital work to support their community and this added cash-boost will help them to offer better facilities.

“National Lottery funding is one of the crucial ways community groups can secure extra cash to improve the services they offer.

“I know all three groups will be delighted with this cash boost and I look forward to visiting the improvements when they are complete.”

2 July 2019

Stevenson Welcomes £3.9 Million Scottish Government Investment in New Housing in Portsoy

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has hailed Scottish Government investment of £3.9 million in social housing in Banffshire.

The construction will be completed by housing developer Sanctuary Homes for 44 properties in Portsoy.
The £3.9 million grant from the Scottish Government will help fund the project on the former Campbell Hospital site in the town.

Since 2016, a target has been set to build at least 50,000 new affordable homes, of which 35,000 will be for social rent, with investment of more than £1.75 billion.

In comparison, the number of social homes being built by the UK Government under the Tories has fallen by almost 90 percent since the Tories came into power in 2010.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to support decent, affordable housing in the North-east.

“Not only will it help to provide homes for people, it shows the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving infrastructure in the region, creating jobs and investment.

“While the SNP have delivered more affordable homes, the level of social housing available in England has continued to plummet under the Tories.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to helping people feel settled and giving them fair access to property at an affordable level.

“In this Parliamentary term, we have set a target to build at least 50,000 new affordable homes, of which 35,000 will be for social rent, with investment of more than £1.75 billion.”

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