ShareThis

.

.

30 September 2019

Stevenson Comments on Weekend's Flooding

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised the emergency services and council workers who turned out to deal with the effects of the widespread flooding after torrential rain at the weekend.

The north coast was severely affected by the weekend’s exceptional weather with seven bridges being washed away of damaged, as well as damage to roads, verges and property.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“At the outset, let me say that I’m very relieved that we didn’t see any loss of life at the weekend. The catastrophic effects of the volume of water which came down resulted in bridges collapsing and road surfaces and verges being washed away. Such things can be replaced but not human life and this could have been so much worse.

“The emergency services and local authority staff did a tremendous job at the weekend, working hard to ensure public safety was paramount and I express my grateful thanks to them all.

“Clearly, there are now some major works required to bring roads back up to standard and to replace bridges which have gone and I will be liaising with the council in this regard. As ever with emergency situations, there are always valuable lessons to be learned in how to respond and I’m sure this will also be reflected upon, particularly in light of the fact that with climate change such extreme weather events such as this may become more frequent in future.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP Celebrates Thousands of Scottish Lifesavers on the Stem Cell Register

A North-east MSP celebrated the 1,293 potential lifesavers in Banffshire and Buchan Coast this Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month Stewart Stevenson MSP attended a reception in Holyrood, celebrating the 14,000 potential stem cell donors across Scotland on the Anthony Nolan register.
This event shines a spotlight on the vital work being done locally to ensure that every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.

In Banffshire and Buchan Coast 1,293 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan- 21% of these donors are men aged 16-30, and the average age is 32 years old.

Now, Mr Stevenson is encouraging more people from Banffshire and Buchan Coast, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant.

While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 18% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Stewart Stevenson MSP also had the chance to meet with representatives of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) including Ally Boyle. Ally initiated a ground breaking partnership with Anthony Nolan in 2009, while he was Area Commander of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, after being diagnosed with myelodysplasia (a type of blood cancer). They have recruited thousands of lifesavers to the register, predominantly through their innovative SFRS Education Programme, which sees SFRS volunteers deliver inspiring educational presentations about stem cell, blood and organ donation to 16- to 18-year-olds across Scotland.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I am very proud that Banffshire and Buchan Coast has 1,293 registered donors- any one of whom could offer someone with blood cancer a second chance at life.

“I would especially like to commend the great work of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in engaging local communities, particularly secondary schools across Scotland. They’ve recruited more than fifty people who have gone on to donate. Their steadfast commitment over the past ten years has had a truly lifesaving impact.

“Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure- I’d encourage even more of my constituents to register.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said:

“In the last year 147 selfless people from Banffshire and Buchan Coast joined the Anthony Nolan register, each one representing hope for patients with blood cancer, and blood disorders, in need of matching stem cell donors.

“This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community.

“To everyone from Banffshire and Buchan Coast who has taken the decision to join the register, thank you. We rely on young people aged 16-30 joining the register now to save lives in the future. Without you, there is no cure.”

For more information on Anthony Nolan visit anthonynolan.org/join.

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

27 September 2019

MSP criticises UK Government for blocking potential fishing reforms and welcomes increase in Scottish fish value

Stewart Stevenson MSP has condemned Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg for blocking fishing reforms that could be worth an additional £540 million a year and 5,000 new jobs to the seafood industry.

The Commons leader said it was “not essential” for the Fisheries Bill to become law before Brexit – inviting accusations that the new UK administration viewed fishing as “expendable”.

On the same day the Scottish Government welcomed the value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2018 increased by 1% to £574 million, despite a 4% drop in the total tonnage of fish landed.

The figures were published yesterday as part of Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2018.

The statistics also show an increase in the overall number of people working on Scottish fishing vessels, as well as more fishers working in the industry on a regular rather than irregular basis.

Stewart Stevenson commented:

“For a small nation, in an EU member state operating within the Common Fisheries Policy, Scotland punches well above its weight in the European fishing sector. With one of the largest white fish markets in Europe in my constituency in Peterhead, Scottish boats catch 8% of the total EU landings and the industry turnover exceeds half a billion pounds each year. Much of that money is the lifeblood of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable coastal communities.

“It’s therefore encouraging to see the total value of landings increase – although the story isn’t positive across the board, with the total shellfish tonnage dropping again. That’s a particular concern for an industry which could be one of the most adversely affected by the impacts of an EU exit, given the dependence of that sector on its export trade.

“It will not be lost on fishermen that Jacob Rees-Mogg regards the first Fisheries Bill to be debated in the Commons for years as ‘not essential’.

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government are working to ensure that more economic benefit is created for our coastal communities from the value of the fish being caught in Scottish waters. That is why we are introducing a landings target in this Parliament and will amend the current economic link licensing condition in our new approach to fisheries management.”

MSP Welcomes Further Progress on Delivering Rental Homes Locally

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed today’s official opening by Housing Minister Kevin Stewart and Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson of the latest tranche of social housing for rent in Peterhead.

Ruby Crescent – named by pupils from nearby Dales Park School in commemoration of the school’s 40th anniversary – and the extension to Dales View Drive provide over 30 new houses to Aberdeenshire Council’s housing stock.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I’m very pleased the Housing Minister has found himself in Peterhead again so soon after his visit a few weeks ago launching yet another new development of social housing.

“The SNP Scottish Government has ambitious plans to deliver 50,000 new rental homes before the end of the current Parliament. I’m pleased to see Peterhead benefitting from that ambition.”

Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith, who attended today’s launch added:

“I’m delighted to see yet another new social housing development completed in Peterhead.

“The shortage of council housing caused by the selling-off of stock under previous Tory Government’s caused huge difficulties for councils and those looking for affordable rented accommodation. There’s a long way to go to redress that but this latest development is very welcome and makes a huge difference to tenants’ lives.”

25 September 2019

MSPs pass landmark Climate Change Bill

North-east MSPs have today voted in favour of a new Climate Change Bill that demonstrates international leadership on climate action and takes bold steps in response to robust scientific assessment.

This bill comes following the First Minister's announcement earlier this year recognising a climate emergency, along with recent climate strikes.

The landmark legislation commits Scotland to becoming a net-zero society by 2045- tougher than a net-zero target that commits only to balancing carbon dioxide emissions and the toughest statutory target of any country in the world for this date.

Both MSPs spoke in favour of the bill in the stage three debate and welcomed the adoption of the ambitious new target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP for Aberdeenshire East said:

“After the passing of this bill today the most important thing is to put the systems in place that will make it possible to achieve these extremely challenging targets.

“In the North-east those challenges are significant and I will be doing everything I can to ensure we have a just transition that protects the livelihoods of my constituents and creates the low carbon jobs we need for the future.

“One of the most pressing issues for my area is a vast improvement of public transport choices available. This will ensure that we can play our part in meeting the challenges ahead.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“I am delighted to see the Scottish Government is leading the way internationally by introducing the toughest statutory target of any country in the world for this date- to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.

“However now is when the hard work begins and it is crucial that the UK Government follows the Scottish Governments example and commits to becoming a net-zero society.

“There is no doubt that there is a climate emergency and so people must act with the same urgency as any other emergency ensuring no one is left behind.”

Local MSP Comments on Rock Challenge Disappointment

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed his disappointment at the announcement that Rock Challenge and J Rock will not be taking place in 2020.

Mr Stevenson is a strong supporter of the Rock Challenge and travelled with Peterhead Academy when they competed in Grimsby a few years ago and even picked up his own – unexpected – award at the 2003 event for his help in securing funding to allow the event to continue.
Clerkhill School with Stewart Stevenson at '18 J-Rock
The organisers have cited the current uncertain economic conditions and also the addition by some venues of various levies and other charges on ticket sales as the reasons behind the decision.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Rock Challenge is a great experience for those involved and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to attend heats in Aberdeen and finals in Grimsby in recent years. The serious message behind Rock Challenge of course is the anti-drugs and anti-crime message which the event actively promotes.

“I’m so disappointed for the local schools who have participated in J Rock and Rock Challenge with great enthusiasm and success in recent years. However, I’m heartened that the organisers are actively looking to stage events in 2021 and I will be offering any assistance I can in this regard.

“In the meantime, I’ve suggested to Aberdeenshire Council that they perhaps consider whether an event for Aberdeenshire schools could be arranged to fill the gap next year and avoid disappointment for those who were already looking forward to participating.”

24 September 2019

North-East MSP calls for devolved consultation following historic judgement

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has today called for the Scottish Parliament to be consulted with during the next stages of Brexit negotiations.

This follows today’s historic judgement as the UK’s highest court today ruled unanimously that the Prime Minister had acted unlawfully when he suspended Parliament.

Mr Stevenson asked the First Minister in her statement today if section 60 of the judgement recognises a legal duty on the Prime Minister to consult with the Scottish and Welsh legislatures as they seek a new Brexit deal.

The defeat of the Tory Government highlights the sovereignty of Parliament, and the Supreme Courts president Lady Hale said the unanimous decision of the eleven justices meant Parliament had effectively not been prorogued - the decision was null and of no effect.

Stewart Stevenson MSP commented,

“Today’s ruling is one of historic proportions. Few of us thought that the court would go so far as actually to quash the prorogation.

“The unanimous judgement sends a strong message of democratic outrage to the Tory Government. The Prime Minister must accept that you can’t by pass democracy and must now seek to work together with the devolved institutions of the UK to secure a deal.

“The Parliament should reconvene as soon as possible and Mr Johnston must resign having acted out with the law.”

In response to Mr Stevenson’s question the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said,

“Paragraph 60 of the judgement does talk about the consultation that is required with the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

“I hope that any steps that are taken now by the Westminster Government, that this principal of consulting the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Parliament is respected in a way that it hasn’t always been previously.”

21 September 2019

MSP & Councillor Join Volunteers at Banff Beach Clean

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson and Banff & District councillor Glen Reynolds joined the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and hundreds of volunteers during a beach clean event at Banff today (Saturday).

The Great British Beach Clean is the biggest annual beach clean-up and survey in the UK and is organised by the MCS. The event is now in its 26th year and MCS hopes to beat what was a record-breaking 2018 with even more beach cleans organised and more volunteers getting involved. Last year, 2,913 Scottish volunteers took part, removing an incredible 75,807 individual items of litter at 135 beach cleans along 15,680 metres of Scottish coastline.
Stewart Stevenson joined the citizen science project to help clear and survey the litter found on the beach at Banff. Data collected by volunteers from over 25 years of MCS-led Great British Beach Cleans has been instrumental in the introduction of Scotland’s 5p single-use carrier bag charge, commitments to implement a ban on plastic stemmed cotton buds and to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

"I'm pleased to be joining the Marine Conservation Society and other volunteers at Banff on Saturday to take part in the beach clean.

"Looking after our environment is important and the issue of plastic in our seas is becoming ever more serious. As well as being a practical way to clean up the beach, MCS will also be surveying the litter which is collected, to enable more understanding of where it has come from, how far it may have travelled and, hopefully, provide more information on how we can counter this."

Banff & District councillor Glen Reynolds added:

"The beach clean activity at Greenbanks in Banff today, illustrated how every little can indeed help, to raise awareness surrounding the fragility of our beautiful coast and the problem over plastic contamination. I was hugely impressed by the school children as well as the adults, who took time to help in project Beachwatch - the UK's largest beach clean and litter survey!"

A spokesperson for the MCS said:

“It’s fantastic to see local MSP Stewart Stevenson joining us at Banff to support our Great British Beach Clean; it’s really important for decision-makers to see how much litter, especially plastic, makes its way on to our beaches. We hope that Stewart’s attendance at the Great British Beach Clean will encourage local constituents to join us for an eye-opening day on the beaches. It's vital that we all continue to work together to stop the tide of plastic in our oceans.”

This year, for the first time, the Great British Beach Clean will be sponsored by the Ocado Foundation, the charitable arm of the online supermarket. The Foundation will be sponsoring the event to the tune of £300,000 as part of the Environmental Pillar of its ‘Ocado Way 2020 Vision’.

Suzanne Westlake, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Affairs said on behalf of the Ocado Foundation:

“We're delighted to be teaming up with the Marine Conservation Society on the GBBC. It will be an amazing four-day event and one we are proud to be a part of.”

20 September 2019

Stewart Stevenson MSP encourages businesses to take part in Autism Hour

A North-east MSP is calling on local businesses to take part in Autism Hour to encourage shops to be more autism-friendly. Autism Hour highlights that small changes can make a big difference to autistic customers and families. National Autistic Society Scotland hope that, after participating in Autism Hour, shops will introduce regular autism-friendly sessions.
From Saturday 5th to Saturday 12th October hundreds of shops around Scotland are turning down music and dimming the lights, as well as providing staff with information about autism to enable them to help and understand autistic customers.

There are around 58,000 autistic people in Scotland. Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and can struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can make busy public places, like shops, overwhelming.

Major names from high streets across Scotland are taking part in Autism Hour, including The Entertainer, Morrisons, Lloyds Banking Group, Home Bargains and intu Group. A full list of participating shops in Scotland can be found at www.autism.org.uk/autismhour.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I think Autism Hour is an excellent initiative and I’d encourage all shops, cafes and other businesses in my constituency to get involved.

“Creating an autism friendly environment is simple and small changes like dimming lights and turning music down is easy to do, but goes a long way to making autistic people and their families feel welcome.

“Holding an Autism Hour is the first step to creating a more autism-friendly Scotland.”

Nick Ward, Director of National Autistic Society Scotland, said:

“I’m delighted Stewart is supporting Autism Hour and encouraging businesses to take part.

“We know that 66% of autistic people in Scotland avoid the shops. And, shockingly, 27% have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism. They and their families want and deserve to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else.

“Small changes can make a big difference for autistic people and their families.”

Local MSP refutes Tory Attempts to Claim Credit and Thanks for Farmers' Funding

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has this week refuted claims from David Duguid’s column that the Conservative UK Government welcomed the announcement that £160 million worth of convergence funding from the European Union. This money was originally intended to benefit Scottish agriculture and will be paid to the Scottish Government after Mr Duguid’s party refused to hand over the money in 2013.

Convergence uplift is extra Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) funding allocated to the UK to bring Scotland’s per-hectare subsidy average up.

The full allocation was not given to Scotland and years of lobbying from industry and the Scottish Government led to the formation of the Bew Review Group to look at intra-UK farm subsidy allocations.

Earlier this month Chancellor Sajid Javid vowed to “correct that decision” by awarding £160m to Scots farmers, while the Bew Review Group recommended a further allocation of £51.4m in funding over the next two years.

While local Conservative David Duguid attempts to hail the return of the funding which was withheld from Scottish farmers by the Conservative UK Government as some kind of victory for the Conservatives, Mr Stevenson likened his attempts to that of a pickpocket seeking thanks for returning a stolen wallet.

Mr. Stevenson commented:

“Better late than never.

“This money was given by the EU to the UK Government in 2013 with the express purpose of uplifting the low per hectare payments received by Scottish farmers. I was delighted to note Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid’s own observation that the decision by David Cameron’s Conservative Government to withhold this money was wrong – and that the payment will be made after all.

“His announcement follows on from cross-party pressure at both Holyrood and Westminster to right this long-running injustice against our farmers – including from members of the Conservative Party who, I note, are spinning the line that this somehow represents a generous gift from Westminster.

“My constituents in the farming sector will, I’m sure, reach their own conclusions on how much weight this spin should carry. And, indeed, the appropriate level of gratitude due to the pickpocket who returns your wallet six years later.”

19 September 2019

MSP backs calls to address plight of local egg producers

Stewart Stevenson MSP has this week backed calls from SNP colleagues to address the challenges which will face local egg producers after Brexit.

Joan McAlpine MSP has raised fears about the future of egg production after the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing told her the sector could be "wiped out" if a no-deal Brexit leads to a mass influx of cheap, poor quality produce into the UK market.

UK ministers propose to drop tariffs on eggs from abroad in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Mr Ewing told Holyrood he had raised the British Egg Industry Councils concerns with UK ministers just last week, but they were unable to give any reassurance about fears a no-deal could lead to an influx of poor quality eggs produced to lower animal welfare standards.

The BEIC fear that in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, many of the EU regulations and quality controls which ensure the welfare of egg laying hens and the quality of the eggs sold at market, could be scrapped.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“A no-deal Brexit scenario could be disastrous for Scottish consumers and for our high-quality egg industry. Rural areas like the North East have risen to the challenge of producing high quality free-range eggs in recent years, and it would be disgraceful to put these businesses at risk by allowing poor quality ‘battery’ eggs back onto the market.

“If we leave the EU without a deal, we will revert to WTO rules. Under the World Trade Organisation’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules, animal welfare cannot be used as a barrier to trade, so we could go backwards."

Responding to Ms McAlpine’s questions in the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said:

“Unfortunately our assessment is that egg production is another of our successful food and drink sectors that will be negatively impacted by a no deal Brexit, and this is particularly true if, as expected, the UK Government leaves the sector without the protection of tariffs or quantitative restrictions on egg products coming into the UK. That would leave Scottish producers at an unfair disadvantage with the potential for imported products of much lower quality and welfare standards flooding the market here.

“These issues were raised with DEFRA Ministers on Monday, but yet again they were completely unable to give us any reassurance whatsoever to alleviate these real and practical concerns. It was completely inadequate, and utter shambolic.”

18 September 2019

Stevenson Comments on Resignation of Ron Shepherd

Commenting on the announcement by Moray councillor Ron Shepherd that he is to step down from his position on 4 October, Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“I’m sorry to see Ron stepping down as a councillor but fully understand his reasons for doing so.

“Ron has served on Moray Council since 1999 and has been a stalwart of the local community. I wish him and his wife Dorothy well in his retirement.”

10 September 2019

Minister Visits New Peterhead Rental Housing

Stevenson Welcomes Further Provision of Social Housing in Buchan

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson was on hand to view some of the new properties for social rent now available in Peterhead thanks to over £2 million of investment from the Scottish Government.

The SNP MSP accompanied Housing Minister Kevin Stewart on a visit to the Osprey Homes development at Lingbank Close, where they met some of the new tenants.
Commenting, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the Osprey homes represented ‘more than just bricks and mortar’ for the tenants. He said:

“Meeting the new tenants at Lingbank Close, it’s clear to see how their new homes have had such a positive impact on their lives.

“These high-quality houses are more than just bricks and mortar — they provide a sense of pride and belonging in a warm, neighbourly setting.

“The success of this development is testament to the strong collaborative working between housing associations, the construction industry, local councils, and the Scottish Government.

“These new homes will help us stay on course to meet our ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, backed by record investment of over £3 billion.”

Stewart Stevenson added:

“The lack of affordable housing to rent is a common issue raised with me at my surgeries. Tackling the housing shortage locally caused by the Tory sell-off of council housing and council’s not being allowed to build replacements is a key priority. It won’t be rectified overnight but we’re seeing significant new developments coming on stream in recent years.

“I’m delighted this latest development in my constituency has benefitted from support from the Scottish Government and look forward to other new housing schemes in the pipeline.”

9 September 2019

Stevenson Welcomes First Minister & Deputy First Minister Announcement on Peterhead Community Campus Funding

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement this afternoon in Peterhead that the town’s school campus will be included in the Scottish Government’s New Learning Estate Investment programme.
Stewart Stevenson MSP
Depute Head Teacher Gordon West
Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith
The announcement represents further substantial progress on delivering a new school campus for Peterhead first prioritised by the SNP/Labour administration which ran Aberdeenshire Council between 2015 and 2017.

Commenting after the announcement, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I’m delighted the Scottish Government have responded positively to the very strong case made by my councillor colleagues and others that Peterhead needs new secondary school provision.

“While there have been calls for many years for a replacement for the ageing Peterhead Academy, it wasn’t until the SNP took over the running of Aberdeenshire Council with our Labour colleagues in 2015-17 that this started to become a priority.

“Today’s announcement is very good news for Peterhead and I look forward to the project progressing.”

Speaking in Peterhead Academy, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“This additional £1 billion investment will benefit around 50,000 pupils across Scotland, with the first phase set to upgrade and modernise schools across 11 of our local authority areas.

“This investment builds on the progress that we have made over the last 10 years. The National Statistics published today reveal that, even before today’s announcement, Scotland’s school estate has never been in better condition, with a record percentage in good or satisfactory condition. That is a result of sustained investment and we will now build on that.

“Modern, state of the art buildings can make a real difference to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider communities they serve. This investment continues our efforts to improve the condition of our entire learning estate, from early years through to schools and colleges.”

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney said:

“Creating and maintaining high quality, fit for purpose educational facilities demonstrates to pupils, teachers, staff and the community how valuable learning is.

“The progress made through Scotland’s Schools for the Future has had a significant impact on the condition of schools across the country - almost 90% of pupils are learning in schools in good or satisfactory condition.

“We are committed to making even more progress and I have seen myself the urgency with which some schools require updating. The first phase of the £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme prioritises schools in need of updating or where there are significant capacity issues, as identified by local authorities, to ensure rapid progress where most required."

6 September 2019

North-East Set to be Worst Hit by Brexit

Farm Cash Thieves "Returning to Scene of the Crime"

Boris Johnson has been warned that North-east voters “will never forgive” the Tories for inflicting a Brexit that is set to hit the area worse than any other part of the UK, the SNP has said.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson spoke ahead of a visit by Boris Johnson to the North-east, where the Prime Minister will announce an end to the historic theft of farm funding after sustained pressure by the SNP.

Analysts at the London School of Economics found that Aberdeen would be the worst hit city in the UK by a hard Brexit – having a wider knock-on effect to the region as a whole.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“It was a Tory government who stolen millions of pounds of European cash from the pockets of Scottish farmers.

“Boris Johnson is like a thief returning to the scene of the crime.

“In doing so, the Prime Minister is reminding voters across the North-east how disastrous his Brexit plans will be – with experts predicting Aberdeen will be the worst hit city in the whole of the UK.

“No wonder polls show that the Prime Minister is deeply unpopular, with voters backing the SNP to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

“It is essential that Boris Johnson is stopped in his tracks – or voters in the North-east will never forgive the Tories.”

5 September 2019

Stevenson Welcomes UK Govt's Change of Mind on Farming Cash

But Tory Attempts to Claim Credit Akin to Pickpocket Returning Wallet and Asking for Thanks

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement that £160 million worth of convergence funding from the European Union originally intended to benefit Scottish agriculture will be paid to the Scottish Government after Westminster refused to hand over the money in 2013.

While local Conservatives attempt to hail the return of the funding which was withheld from Scottish farmers by the Conservative UK Government as some kind of victory for the Conservatives, Mr Stevenson likened their attempts to that of a pickpocket seeking thanks for returning a stolen wallet.

Mr. Stevenson commented:

“Better late than never.

“This money was given by the EU to the UK Government in 2013 with the express purpose of uplifting the low per hectare payments received by Scottish farmers. I was delighted to note Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid’s own observation that the decision by David Cameron’s Conservative Government to withhold this money was wrong – and that the payment will be made after all.

“His announcement follows on from cross-party pressure at both Holyrood and Westminster to right this long-running injustice against our farmers – including from members of the Conservative Party at Holyrood who, I note, are today spinning the line that this somehow represents a generous gift from Westminster.

“My constituents in the farming sector will, I’m sure, reach their own conclusions on how much weight this spin should carry. And, indeed, the appropriate level of gratitude due to the pickpocket who returns your wallet six years later.”

MSP Backs Docu-Art Installation at ARI to Boost Organ Donation

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised the launch of a memorial to organ donors at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary which takes the form of a permanent art installation which incorporates a documentary featuring donor families and those who have had their lives changed by receiving a transplant.

In 2018 44 people died in Scotland while waiting for a transplant. Just 1% of us will die in circumstances that could allow organ donation. Although the law on organ donation is changing in Scotland, it is still incredibly important people who are willing to donate add their names to the register and make their loved ones aware of their wishes.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“This is an innovative way to get the message across to the public how important organ donation is whilst commemorating those who became organ donors.

“Right at this moment in Scotland, around 550 people with life-threatening illnesses are on transplant waiting lists. So it is important for everyone to decide whether they want to be a donor and to share that decision with their family.

“Signing up to the Organ Donor Register could not be easier – and I would encourage my constituents to spare the two minutes that it takes to sign up at www.organdonationscotland.org/yes.

“The Organ Donor Register is a vital resource for our NHS and the fact that everybody has it in them to save a life.”

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:

“NHS Grampian’s short film will give people a better insight into the difference donation can make and how it saves or improves people’s lives.

“I am grateful to those participating in Organ Donation Week for continuing the conversation and encouraging people to make a choice about donation and to discuss that with their loved ones.”

Stevenson Writes to Scottish Secretary on Civil Servant Meeting Ban

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack asking that he get his UK Conservative colleagues to remove their ban on civil servants attending EU meetings.

It was reported in the media this week that Scottish civil servants had been banned from attending EU meetings on the basis that the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay had ruled that only meetings where “a significant national interest in the outcome of discussions such as security” was involved could be attended. The decision was taken without either consulting or informing the Scottish Government, leaving officials to learn of this from the media and is said to include a ban on meetings regarding fisheries and agriculture.

Writing to the Secretary of State for Scotland, Stewart Stevenson said:

“It is not treating our civil service colleagues with respect to allow them to find out about this change from the media in this manner. While the Scottish and UK Governments are clearly of differing political colours, that has not and should not get in the way of the orderly business of government and securing the best outcome for Scottish business, industry and individuals.

“I should be grateful if you would advise what representations you have made to your UK Government colleagues in this regard.

“Secondly, I understand that fishing and agriculture for example are covered by the Brexit Secretary’s ruling. While fishing is clearly not regarded as a “significant national interest” for the UK, it very much is so for Scotland and, in particular, my constituency. Given that co-operation with other coastal states will require to continue if/when the UK leaves the EU, it is clearly of vital importance for Scotland’s civil servants to attend meetings where matters such as fisheries – and agriculture, another significant national interest for Scotland – are being discussed.”

Commenting on his letter, Mr Stevenson said:

“It is quite incredible that the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is supposed to be representing Scotland’s interests in London, could have allowed this to pass unchallenged.

“Our civil servants should be in there regardless of any internal fighting in the Tory Party over Europe because whatever happens, there will still need to be mutual co-operation with our neighbour coastal states on matters relating to fishing so that our industry is not disadvantaged.”

4 September 2019

MSP Welcomes Convergence Statement in Parliament as Villiers Ignores Plea

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed yesterday’s statement in the Scottish Parliament by Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing on the repatriation of convergence funding withheld from Scotland’s farmers by the Westminster Government.

In his statement, Mr Ewing expressed the hope that “we can come together as a Parliament and focus on the final part of this six-year-long campaign to ensure its success and the delivery of the funding that is owed to Scottish farming”.

Mr Ewing continued: “In doing so, I offer the reflection that this Parliament is often at its best when we can act together and support with one voice a campaign to repatriate money that, plainly, is in the interests of our farmers and crofters, who face very real and pressing challenges in the short and medium term, as we all know.”

Commenting, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The expressions of support from across the parties in the Chamber yesterday for the return of this funding to Scotland’s farmers was very heartening.

“However, it is now nearly six weeks since I wrote to the new Conservative DEFRA Secretary Theresa Villiers asking her to carry out the will of the new Prime Minister and return the £160million in convergence funding which the Westminster Government has been withholding from Scotland’s farmers.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Secretary of State has not even seen fit to acknowledge my letter, let alone reply on an issue of such importance to farmers in the North-east.

“Scottish farmers have not forgotten that the UK Tory Government has withheld £160m in funding rightfully due to them. It is solely because of Scotland that the UK, as the Member State, qualified for this funding.”

The £160million of convergence funding was allocated by the EU to Scotland and retained by the Conservative Government. However, new Prime Minister Boris Johnston appeared to give a commitment to “make sure Scotland’s farmers get the support they are owed” at a Conservative Leadership hustings event in July. Stewart Stevenson wrote to Theresa Villiers on 29 July asking her to make good in the new PM’s pledge and release the money.

Commenting at the time, Mr Stevenson said:

“The new Secretary of State has an opportunity early in her tenure to set right this historic wrong. New Prime Minister Boris Johnston has given a commitment, which has been welcomed by the NFUS President, so it should be a simple matter of carrying out the will of the PM and paying the money.

“Scottish farmers will be expecting more than warm words from the new Secretary of State. She needs to send a clear signal to Scottish farmers that she understands their distinct challenges and is prepared to pay them what is rightfully theirs. In other words, she needs to decide whether she will back Scotland’s farmers, or betray them like her predecessor.”

Mr Stevenson has today written again to Theresa Villiers on the matter.

3 September 2019

Regeneration on Agenda as Stevenson Visits Projects and Businesses in Fraserburgh

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson spent time this week visiting a range of businesses and projects in Fraserburgh as part of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership scheme, which supports the Scottish Government's ongoing commitment to secure a positive future for towns such as Banff, Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead.
Stewart Stevenson MSP
Caroline Bruce, Co-owner of the Beach Café
Councillor Charles Buchan
.

The visits, facilitated by Aberdeenshire Council’s Economic Development team, included local businesses which had recently invested in upgrades, as well as businesses and projects supported by regeneration funding and helping take forward the Scottish Government’s vision for town centre improvements.

Among those businesses and projects visited by Mr Stevenson were:
  • Fraserburgh Enterprise Hub, a project designed to increase access to mainstream business support and stimulate new and growth businesses. The project is run by Elevator in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council and is funded through the Fraserburgh Regeneration Action Plan and EU funding.
  • The Faithlie Centre – a key £2.6m strategic Regeneration project in the heart of the town centre partly funded by a Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. This project will include new council facilities, community space and a new Enterprise Hub for start-up businesses and is the main priority project under the Fraserburgh 2021 initiative.
  • The Beach Café, which changed hands in May under a new tenancy. This is a new business enterprise and has created 14 new jobs and safeguarded one additional job. The new management has made a commitment to provide high quality locally sourced food and over time will seek to extend opening hours and provide a greater range of services.
  • South Links Sports Development, a new £1.3m new sports facility consisting of a new running track, football pitch and all abilities cycle track. The project is designed to increase and deepen participation in sport. The project includes a grant of £455k from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund with funding also awarded by Aberdeenshire Council, Sports Scotland, LEADER and the Robertson Trust as well as financial support from local companies.
  • Discover Fraserburgh Tourism Group is the Destination Management project for Fraserburgh and surrounding areas. They have recently secured funding from Visit Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and from private sponsorship to run a new and innovative visitor economy project, #Fraserburgh48, designed to encourage longer stays in the area.
Commenting after his visit, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This was a very useful and informative visit and I’m grateful to the businesses and projects involved for hosting it and to the council for arranging it.

Stewart Stevenson MSP
Graeme Clark, Convenor of FSLDT
Councillor Charles Buchan
“There was a good mix of commercial and social enterprises stepping up with assistance to rebuild living breathing town centres which are attracting a new generation of visitors.

“The Scottish Government’s ‘town centre first’ principle is a key tool in helping local enterprises in our towns, backed by the local regeneration partnership in Fraserburgh and external funders such as the EU’s LEADER Programme and Aberdeenshire Council.

“It was also good to meet businesses which had decided to invest in the area, giving a real boost to the local economy and I was delighted to see and hear how well they are doing.

“All in all, whilst town centres across the UK are facing challenges as a result of changing shopping habits, it was good to see just how many new ventures have established themselves in Fraserburgh, all of which are helping to regenerate our towns, providing employment and bolster the local economy.”



Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP