ShareThis

.

.
CORONAVIRUS

My staff and I remain available to assist constituents in any way we can.

However, for the time being, we are not undertaking face to face contact.

We are regularly checking voicemails and emails and are receiving mail from our office at a staff member's home address.

Please understand that it may be that we take a little longer to respond than we would normally.

Please DO NOT visit the office as we are all working from home.


1 July 2020

Stevenson Welcomes Return of Warmer Homes Scheme

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement from the Housing Minister Kevin Stewart that the national energy efficiency scheme for homes will re-start today.

In a statement, Mr Stewart announced that Warmer Homes Scotland, the national scheme to help reduce people’s fuel bills by making their homes more energy-efficient, will re-start on 1 July. As a result, over 300 staff employed on the programme have been brought out of furlough to start installing energy efficiency measures in people’s homes.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“Our national scheme to help make more homes become energy efficient will re-start on July 1, which should help to reduce fuel bills and provide vital support to those who have been struggling even more as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Warmer Homes Scotland makes a huge difference to the lives of thousands of fuel poor households every year and I know this will also be welcome news to the hundreds of workers employed to deliver the service.

“We want a Scotland where everyone lives in a warm home and where we have put an end to fuel poverty. By 2021 the Scottish Government will have allocated over £1 billion to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency, making people’s homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

“I would ask people to please be patient while work resumes. Warmworks will contact people as soon as possible to confirm when their service will be restarted.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I am pleased that this scheme is to re-start. It is a vital part of the action being taken by the Scottish Government to tackle fuel poverty and also helps the environment.

“Many people across the country have been assisted by this scheme and I look forward to seeing more and more people benefitting now that work can safely recommence.”

24 June 2020

Holyrood Backs £11.4 Million for Aberdeenshire to Tackle COVID-19

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed a Holyrood vote approving £11.4 million extra funding for Aberdeenshire Council in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost £258 million extra funding has been approved for vital local services across Scotland, such as food provision for those in need, education and social care.

The Scottish Government is in discussions with local authorities over providing a further £72 million – which will bring the total additional funding to almost £330 million.

This extra funding is on top of the local government finance settlement of £11.4 billion, which already provided an increase of £589.4 million (5.8%) compared to the previous year.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The pandemic has put real pressure on families and local services, and it’s right that the Scottish Government has ensured Aberdeenshire Council has more cash to deal with this.

“This funding boost is supporting access to food, welfare payments and frontline services.

“I also welcome the additional flexibility given to councils in how money is spent, allowing resources to be diverted to the COVID-19 response if required.”

Local MSP Urges Farmers to Complete Agriculture Census

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson is urging farmers to complete the 2020 Agricultural Census before the extended deadline of Friday 31 July.

Farmers can access and complete the form online or request to be contacted by a member of the census team by telephone. Over the coming weeks, some farmers may also be contacted directly to discuss providing data.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This year the survey is voluntary to help ease pressures on farmers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“However, the importance of having access to first-hand information from farmers about their business and the agriculture sector in general is vital to help shape government policy and I would encourage all farmers to take part.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“It is now more important than ever that we have an accurate picture of developments in the agricultural sector so that we can assess the impact of coronavirus and develop the right policies to support our farming communities.

“The Agricultural Census data underpins research work in the agricultural sector and is widely used by industry bodies as evidence of how the industry is performing.

“This year the census is voluntary but I urge every farmer in Scotland to take the time to complete the survey either online or on the telephone.”

Stevenson Welcomes Return to Full-Time Schooling

Commenting on the announcement from the Scottish Government that schools will return full-time in August, without distancing, if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing the coronavirus – Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Thanks to the united effort of people here in the North-east, and across Scotland, who have stuck to government advice we have now made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19.

“I’m absolutely delighted by this announcement that if we stay on the right path, and continue to suppress this virus, our young people can return to school full time from August.

“This is an important step not only in ensuring our young people get the education they deserve, but it’s also positive news for working families.

“I want to send my gratitude to our dedicated teachers and school staff in Aberdeenshire and Moray who have helped us get to this stage.

"There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but this SNP Scottish Government is working hard to support families and communities across the country.”

10 June 2020

Stewart Stevenson Thanks Thousands of North-East Volunteers During Pandemic

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised the thousands of North-east residents who have signed up to volunteering schemes during the pandemic.

918 have volunteered with the British Red Cross in Aberdeenshire and 401 volunteers in Moray, while 3,453 people across the North-east have signed up to Volunteer Scotland, according to new figures provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

While not all volunteers have been called upon, many have started to deliver food parcels, ensure essential supplies and medicines reach vulnerable people and phone those who need assistance or companionship.

Scotland Cares links British Red Cross and Volunteer Scotland schemes to local authority and third sector activity in communities, creating a pool of volunteers for local organisations to draw upon and deploy as required.

Volunteers are matched with local needs in a range of organisational settings when those needs arise. It is up to the requesting organisation to decide how and when volunteers are deployed.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and many in our communities have depended on the help offered by others.

“The thousands of people in North-east who have volunteered to help are a real credit to their community and I want to thank each and every person who has signed up.

“Not all volunteers have been needed so far, but volunteers will play a critical role in supporting and rebuilding our communities – and many will be asked to help in the weeks and months to come.”

3 June 2020

MSP Welcomes Over £5 Million of Support to Fish Processors

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, who has fishing communities on the east coast of his constituency (including Peterhead and Fraserburgh) has welcomed support for fish processors.

A total of 128 companies have now received support through the Scottish Government’s Seafood Resilience Fund.

The scheme, which was launched in April, has paid out grants of £5.6 million to assist seafood processors impacted by the collapse of international markets and the shutdown of the UK’s food service industry due to COVID-19.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“This support is crucial to ensuring seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis, fish processors are reliant on buoyant markets, which have clearly collapsed with COVID-19.

“It is important we support them through this difficult period so I am please we have been able to help 128 companies through the scheme, and I know that – although times continue to be difficult – these funds have made a difference.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work with our seafood sector to provide targeted support and guidance as we begin to carefully move towards the safe restart of the economy. As we begin to consider how to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it will be important to explore how to build greater resilience and more local opportunities for people in Scotland and the UK to enjoy our fantastic seafood.”

Jimmy Buchan from the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA), said:

“The Scottish Seafood Association is very appreciative of the speed and delivery of the resilience fund for the processing sector. This has saved several businesses from failure. By and large, the COVID-19 shutdown affected most Scottish processors, and without the fast action of the Scottish Government would have led to job losses right across the seafood supply chain. The Scottish Government, along with the Rural Economy Secretary, actively engaged with the SSA during the industry’s most important hour of need. There is still much work to be done, with the SSA actively engaged with all in the supply chain.”

What to Expect if You're Called by an NHS Contact Tracer

Scotland’s approach to implementing the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy, Test and Protect, is now live across the country.

Test and Protect will help us gradually change the restrictions that help to suppress COVID-19 so society can adapt to a new normal.

If you experience any one of the symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days.

As soon as you start showing symptoms you should go to www.nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 to arrange to get tested.

When contacting individuals who have tested positive, contact tracers will ask people to identify others who they’ve been in close contact with and places they’ve been 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms up until the time they’ve self-isolated. This information will then be inputted into contact tracing software and used to identify and contact those identified.

The positive individual will not be named by the contact tracer in line with patient confidentiality unless they agree to have their details disclosed to help the contact tracing process.

Importantly, contact tracers will not ask anyone for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything. The data gathered will be stored securely by NHS Scotland and safely destroyed as soon as possible after the pandemic concludes.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“I understand that people may be worried about the risks of potential phone scams, but the NHS already has a number of protections in place to stop potential fraudsters and ensure all information is kept confidential.

“Contact tracers will introduce themselves, state the reason for their call, and will always identify who they are calling by name. They will not ask for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything.

“The tracers will be supported by software which builds on a tried and trusted platform, allowing teams to identify outbreaks and reduce transmission for high-risk groups here in the North-east.

“Trace and Protect is one way we will tackle this pandemic, but physical distancing and good hand hygiene continues to play a huge role in minimising the spread of infection.”

1 June 2020

Stevenson Pays Tribute to 'Outstanding' Volunteers in the North-East

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has paid tribute to volunteers who have helped the NHS and local communities in the North-east as Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) kicks off.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution and work of millions of volunteers who give up their time to help others.

During this pandemic, volunteers have signed up to help in record numbers through the Scotland Cares initiative – over 53,000 in one month – joining the thousands of people who were already helping, either with one of Scotland’s many voluntary and community sector groups or informally with neighbours.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP said:

“Volunteers’ Week gives us a chance to celebrate the outstanding contributions of volunteers in the North-east who have offered an immense amount of support to their local areas.

“I know what a huge debt of gratitude we owe to the amazing volunteers working so hard in all of our communities to help us deal with the many consequences of the coronavirus, and it’s more important than ever to show our appreciation.

“I want to celebrate and mark the fantastic work of all our local volunteers who I know have worked tirelessly and have been dedicated to helping the NHS and their local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am sure I speak for everyone in North-east when I say thank you for all you do to ensure everyone gets the help and support they need."

29 May 2020

Stevenson Welcomes Return of Six-Day Mail Delivery

MSP Thanks Postal Workers for Providing Vital Service

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the news from Royal Mail that six-day mail deliveries will return on Saturday 13 June.

The news came during an online meeting between the MSP and Royal Mail senior officials.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I very much welcome this commitment from Royal Mail that Saturday deliveries will be restored from 13 June as the country takes the first, careful steps towards returning to coming out of full lockdown.

“During this time, our mail deliveries have been more important than ever to many people who have been working from home or self-isolating, and of course allowing those businesses who can trade by post to carry on safely providing employment.

“I should like to place on record my heartfelt thanks to our postal workers across the North-east who have continued to provide a valued and appreciated service to the communities they serve. The steps taken by postal workers to continue providing a service while keeping themselves and the public safe are to be applauded and I am grateful to them, so too are the public at large.”

28 May 2020

MSP Urges Third Sector Organisations to Apply for Share of £600,000

Stewart Stevenson MSP has urged third sector organisations to apply for Creative Breaks funding from the Short Breaks Fund with just one week left to apply.

The Creative Breaks programme provides 12-month grants to third sector organisations to develop and deliver short breaks projects and services for carers of adults (aged 21 years and over), and young carers (caring for children or adults), and the people that they care for.

Grants are for one year (October 2020 – September 2021) with a total of £600,000 available.

Short breaks activities can include breaks away, days out, and/or shorter sessions. Activities should be designed to enable carers to have a life outside or alongside their caring role, and to support their health and wellbeing. The hope is that the breaks will benefit the cared-for person and help sustain the caring relationship.
Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Helping carers access short breaks is one of the key ways we can help support some of those performing the most crucial roles in our communities.

“I know that respite due to services being suspended is putting extra strain on carers and some are worried about burnout if there continues to be no access to services.

“Evidence shows that regular breaks for carers is paramount to them being able to sustain their caring role and so I would encourage any organisations who could benefit from this funding to apply to the Short Breaks Fund.”

Call for Tory MSPs to Ensure £70 Million Funding Pledges are Honoured

UK Government Backtracks on Coronavirus Support for Scotland

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has called on local Tory MSP’s to make the case for coronavirus funding pledges to be honoured by Boris Johnson - after the UK Government backtracked on £70 million worth of funding for business and charities in Scotland.

On 2nd May, the UK Government announced a £617 million extension to business grants, which it advised would generate £60 million of funding consequentials for Scotland under the Barnett Formula.

However, the UK Government informed the Scottish Government this week that this additional funding would not now materialise, which will cause concern for businesses and industry in the North-east.

Furthermore, last month £35 million of consequentials was earmarked to the Scottish Government in respect of charity support direct grant, but this was amended by the Treasury to £25 million at a later date.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Funding commitments from the UK Government have to be taken in good faith as we work through this pandemic, but the fact that Boris Johnson's government has simply pulled the rug on £70 million of funding completely undermines the whole process.

“The Scottish Government committed to spending that money in the belief that the UK Government would honour its word – Tory MSPs in the North-east should urgently seek reassurance from their colleagues in the Treasury that future funding announcements will be robust and reliable enough to act upon without creating unnecessary financial risks.

“We’ve already seen the Scottish Government take action to fill gaps in UK-wide support schemes, so the last thing we need is an additional financial burden put on businesses in the North-east because of the Treasury’s shameful decision to short-change Scotland.

“The UK government must act immediately to ensure the £70 million they promised is allocated as quickly as possible and in its entirety so that the Scottish Government can continue to protect jobs as businesses in the North-east.”

26 May 2020

MSP Comments on Douglas Ross Resignation

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“The public has no confidence in Boris Johnson’s handling of the Dominic Cummings disaster – which has completely undermined public health messaging.

“It is welcome news that Mr Ross has recognised that Dominic Cummings explanations for his behaviour simply don't stack up and that he had to, therefore, resign from Government office today, but all other Scottish Conservative MP’s and MSP’s must follow suit and stop with their tone-deaf defence of Cummings.

“Now that the fury felt within the Conservative party is becoming obvious, they look even more out of touch.

“It’s time for the Scottish Tories to do the right thing and back the public who’ve followed the guidance – instead of trying to curry favour with Boris Johnson.

“The Prime Minister must sack Dominic Cummings.”

25 May 2020

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Joins Calls for Dominic Cummings to be Sacked

Mounting Pressure on Tories to Stop Dodging Scrutiny

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has joined calls for Dominic Cummings to resign - after it emerged that police investigated the Tory Prime Minister's most senior advisor for breaking his own government's lockdown rules.

Over the weekend it emerged that Mr Cummings broke lockdown rules to drive his family 264 miles to his parents’ estate in Durham while his wife was suffering coronavirus symptoms - with at least 19 Conservative MPs publicly calling on the adviser to face the consequences for his actions.

There is now mounting pressure on the Scottish Tories to condemn the Prime Minister for allowing his top advisor to fatally undermine the essential public health message that people who have the virus should stay at home.

MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“People in the North-east have made huge sacrifices over the months to obey the rules, while Boris Johnson's most senior adviser was breaking them, possibly on multiple occasions.

“As Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said:
'There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else'. People must have confidence that the Tory government is following its own rules - not being investigated by the police for breaking them.

"People are understandably questioning Boris Johnson's judgement. Questions over the Tory cover-up will only grow unless credible answers are provided – or until Dominic Cummings is removed from his post.

“In Scotland, the clear public health advice has not changed. The Scottish Government will review the current rules on Thursday and hopefully, this will lead to a gradual easing of some restrictions, evidence permitting.

“But for now, people in the North-east should continue to stay at home - it really is helping to save lives.”

21 May 2020

MSP Welcomes Guidance for Farmers

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed new guidance allowing the private trading of animals between individual farmers to be permitted under Regulations.

This Scottish Government today confirmed that if a journey to trade an animal is part of a commercial business, and is essential for that business, it can take place.

This follows the Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP calling on the government to consider ease restrictions for farmers who have a reasonable excuse to travel for the purpose of work where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work from the place where they are living.

Journeys in connection with hobbies remain illegal unless they are essential for animal welfare reasons, such as visiting a veterinary hospital.
Mr Stevenson commented:

“It is welcome news today that farmers trading animals is considered an essential journey to ensure our agriculture sector is supported.

“It remains the case that farmers should stick to the Scottish Government advice to stay at home in order to stop the spread of this terrible virus unless for essential journeys.

“However, I welcome this move today which offers clarity on when transitions are deemed necessary for food production to continue.”

19 May 2020

MSP Welcomes Boys Brigade at Home Initiative

Stewart Stevenson MSP has offered his support to local members of the Boys Brigade as they complete a new online programme – #BBatHOME to win awards during the global pandemic.

Following government advice on social distancing, all face-to-face Boys’ Brigade activities and events have been suspended and instead this programme has been launched online.

The Boys Brigade are sharing 18 new activities each week for the various age groups from 5 to 18-year-olds. As well as continuing to support national priorities in terms of young people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, the programme is placing great emphasis on children and young people having fun.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast even had a go at mastering new card tricks as part of this week’s #BBatHOME activity programme.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“Helping children and young people to have fun is something that is arguably more important than ever in the current unsettling times.

“I have been amazed by the response of our young folk who have shown such courage and patience despite major changes to their everyday lives. This new effort from the Boys Brigade is welcome indeed providing hope and entertainment, something we could all do with a little more of.

“#BBatHOME is a great initiative and allows the whole family get involved, encouraging the boys to stay active and connected while staying safe and they can even pick up a few more badges in the process.”

Resource packs are free available at https://boys-brigade.org.uk/bbathome.

12 May 2020

Vulnerable MSP Takes Part in First Hybrid Holyrood Debate

Stewart Stevenson MSP took part in the first "hybrid" debate in the Scottish Parliament today as he participated in the debate over video link while his colleagues participated in Holyrood.

With the UK in lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, sittings of the parliament have become increasingly flexible with virtual committees and MSPs introducing a system of posing questions to the first minister over a video conference call.

Today Stewart Stevenson MSP was able to dial in from home to participate in the first hybrid debate Suppressing COVID: The next phase despite self-isolating due to being vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Mr Stevenson is "adjusting to new ways of working" along with others around the country as he falls into the shielded category, he vowed to would continue the "crucial" job of scrutinising the government.
Commenting, the Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP said:

"As we establish a new normal the parliament must also adapt and a hybrid parliament is part of the solution, giving MSPs an opportunity to ask questions remotely and take part in debates as we establish our response to COVID 19.

"I am pleased that our new technology platforms are robust enough and secure enough to allow MSPs to formally take part in chamber business and continue the crucial job of representing our constituents.

"At the moment the key business of parliament is scrutiny and so our whole focus is on COVID-19 and ensuring the best support possible for the people of Scotland."

Over £3 million of Funding for North-East Social Care COVID Costs

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed an initial £2.266 million funding to help the social care sector in Aberdeenshire deal with the financial implications of coronavirus and £860,000 of funding in Moray.

The funding was confirmed by the Scottish Government as part of a £50 million package for the sector across the country.

The funding will help address immediate challenges faced in the social care sector and support ongoing provision of social care.

Health and Social Care Partnerships across Scotland have all put in place mobilisation plans to ensure the health and social care system is as well placed as possible to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The social care sector is at the frontline of the current pandemic and will inevitably face additional costs.

“This funding demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to social care – and will ensure that any increasing need for social care as a result of the pandemic is met.

“I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone in the North-east when I share my gratitude towards those working in social care, and all of our frontline key workers, who are doing vital work in the most difficult of circumstances.”

MSPs Pay Tribute to North-East Nurses on International Nurses Day

North-east MSPs have marked International Nurses Day today (Tuesday 12th May), by paying tribute to their work in the battle against Covid-19.

The day also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is famous for founding modern nursing and pioneering infection control.

2020 has been designated the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to mark the bicentenary.

The MSPs shared their gratitude for nurses in the North-east to mark the day and show their appreciation for all that nurses are doing to save and rebuild the lives of patients with coronavirus.

Commenting Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"International Nurses Day is particularly important this year not because of the exceptional work of nurses in our response to coronavirus.

"I want to thank each and every one of our incredible nurses who are on the frontline in the battle against the greatest public health crisis of our time.

"I know how much the public’s support and the clapping that has been ringing out from doorsteps every Thursday has buoyed our health and social care workers and we want to convey our gratitude for the work they do each and every day to save lives in Scotland."
Gillian Martin MSP added:

"How fitting it is that 2020 has been designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife because this is the year that we will remember the enormous contribution of our nurses and healthcare staff in the fight against coronavirus.

"I have seen first-hand the dedication, skill and transformative care of patients that is so evident in the modern-day nursing profession in Scotland.

"This Tuesday, on International Nurses Day, let us recognise their incredible dedication; their professionalism; and their enormous personal sacrifice for the good of us all."

7 May 2020

Stevenson Calls for Public Support to Crackdown on Local Fly Tipping

MSP's Plea to Act Responsibly with Household Waste & Report "Dumb Dumpers"

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, has called on the support of the local community to crackdown on illegal fly tipping in the area during lockdown.

Councils across Scotland have temporarily closed waste and recycling centres to help them prioritise the collection of general refuse and protect public health during the coronavirus outbreak - a course of action described as ‘necessary’ by Zero Waste Scotland.

However, while those maintaining essential waste services in Scotland work hard in difficult circumstances, reports of fly tipping across the country have increased. This has led to calls for local residents to keep a watchful eye out in the North-east and report anyone dumping rubbish illegally to the ‘Dumb Dumpers’ website online.

Responsibility for recycling centres lies with councils but the Scottish Government is working closely with COSLA and its partners in local authorities on the prioritisation of waste services and on what further guidance and practical steps may be required on recycling centres.

The MSP has also echoed calls from Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA for the public to act responsibly with their waste until recycling centres re-open – stressing that now is not the time for large-scale clear-outs.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This is a difficult time for all of us, but we owe a huge thank you to those in the waste industry who are working to keep as many services running as possible.

“The safety of these workers and the general public has to be the priority, and councils also need to consider staffing shortages and physical distancing before our local recycling centres can re-open.

“While these workers do their best for us, it’s important that we continue to do what we can to help them by pitching in to crack down on illegal fly tippers in Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

“Now more than ever, we also have to responsibility for managing our waste during this period – that means keeping larger items at home until the centres re-open.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Refuse collectors are working in exceptional conditions to maintain as many essential services as they can. Now is a good time to avoid wasting so much as this is ultimately the best way to help councils cope.

“Zero Waste Scotland is working with key partners to communicate changes to householders and businesses in Scotland in the meantime. We’d encourage everyone to visit the campaign website to find out how they can best manage their waste.”

5 May 2020

Gillian Martin Makes History as First MSP to Deliver Proxy Speech in Parliament

Gillian Martin MSP made history today (5th May 2020) as she became the first-ever MSP to deliver a proxy speech in the Scottish Parliament on behalf of Stewart Stevenson.
Ms Martin said she decided to give her speech in Mr Stevenson’s place as the 73 years old is currently shielding due to the coronavirus.

Stevenson is a member of the Rural Economy Committee and represents the large food-producing constituency of Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

The North-east MSP was particularly keen to speak in stage 1 of the Scottish Agriculture Bill, however, the Scottish Parliament does not currently have a proxy system in place where an MSP can nominate a proxy to vote or speak on their behalf, even if they are at risk or vulnerable.

Commenting, Aberdeenshire East MSP, Gillian Martin said:

“There is a lot of political support and goodwill from across the Chamber to introduce a system of proxy speeches and voting in Scotland. I am immensely grateful to the Parliamentary staff who I know are working hard behind the scenes to seek solutions and I hope we will soon introduce a proxy system during COVID-19.

“However scrutiny and a chance to get answers directly from the government is more vital than ever and we simply cannot wait for parliamentary processes to catch up. With the size of the challenges, the agricultural sector faces I wanted to ensure they had a voice and I know Stewart would have spoken himself if he was able to.

“I felt privileged today to speak on his behalf and was pleased today to make our own history at this critically important time for the farmers he represents.”

Commenting Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I am very grateful to Gillian who is able to be in parliament and speak on my behalf today, allowing me to represent the views of food producers in my constituency even though I am not physically present.

“It has never been more important that the farming industry has a voice as the worlds production and trade routes are stalled. Farmers are one of our most valuable producers of food and that is particularly true as some of the key markets become more difficult to trade with and food can’t be sourced from other countries.

“The Agricultural Bill before us this afternoon is more vital in content than ever and most critical in its timing. Only by giving our farmers, and all the businesses who work with them, certainty about the support they will receive, will their actions in planning for 2021 and beyond preserve this vital industry.

“Of course I look forward to a time when I can be back delivering speeches in person, but I am immensely grateful to colleagues today for ensuring my voice is heard.”

30 April 2020

More than 2,000 Aberdeenshire Businesses Benefit from £26 million Cash Support Through Crisis

SNP MSPs Gillian Martin and Stewart Stevenson have welcomed new figures showing that 2,314 businesses in Aberdeenshire have received Scottish Government grants to support firms through the coronavirus crisis.

A total of £26.91million has been awarded in Aberdeenshire through a Scottish Government scheme to support small businesses and the retail, hospitality, and leisure sector.

This grant support is worth over £1 billion to business and is part of the wider business support package worth £2.3 billion.

So that funding can be distributed as quickly as possible, eligibility for the grant scheme is linked to the non-domestic rates system.

Commenting, SNP MSP Gillian Martin said:

“The impact of the coronavirus has been undoubtedly felt by every local business I know just how uncertain a time this is for many business owners.

“It is welcome today that Scottish Government funding is going directly into the hands of businesses as it is designed to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this health crisis.

“Our support for business is now worth £2.3 billion, which is more than we have received from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes with tailored support for the Scottish economy.

“I encourage all businesses in Aberdeenshire to apply for funding and ensure they are receiving the support they’re entitled to.”

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson added:

“The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a significant financial blow to our economy, has pushed businesses into hardship, and damaged people’s livelihoods through no fault of their own.

“With many sectors of the economy having to close their doors due to public health advice, strengthening financial measures during this crisis is more important than ever and it is only right that businesses and individuals are supported.

“The cost of not going further in support now will only be more damaging in the long run – I urge the UK government to take bold and comprehensive action to ensure a strong recovery and to build a fairer society."

MSP Welcomes Kindness Calls During Self-Isolation

Stewart Stevenson has welcomed an army of over 4,000 volunteers trained by the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland ready to help people in the North-east who are self-isolating and vulnerable to coronavirus.

The charity is ready to match individuals with a volunteer who can offer regular phone calls, practical help with shopping, collecting medication, or dog-walking.

The charity’s army of Kindness Volunteers are here to help people like Rosalind.

Rosalind Alexander was worried about the impact that isolation would have on her mental health. But then she got matched with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Kindness Caller Volunteer, Christine Ferguson. Christine now calls Rosalind once or twice a week. It has made a huge difference to Rosalind's life and she wants to thank Christine.

Rosalind Alexander said:

“It just gives you a wee bit hope in your day, knowing that someone else in on the other side of the phone, just seeing how you’re doing. It just makes my day!”

Welcoming the initiative, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“In this time of crisis, it is heart warming to see volunteers across Scotland offering their time to support those most vulnerable and in need.

“A simple phone call can really make all the difference to those who are isolating and I would encourage anyone who would benefit from this service to get in touch with Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.”

Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive at Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response we have had from volunteers who want to help people across Scotland. They are trained and ready to go and have already begun helping people in their communities.

“If you need help with anything from your shopping to simply chatting to someone over the phone, we are here for you. Pick up the phone and give us call us today and we will match you with a volunteer in your area.

“No one should be left to fight this virus alone. We are here to help.”

To get help from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland while you are isolating please call their Advice Line on 0808 801 0899.

29 April 2020

MSP Gives a Thumbs up to Thank his Postie

On National Postal Workers Day (29th April) Stewart Stevenson MSP has given a thumbs up to his postie and postmen and women across Scotland for their hard work during COVID-19.

More than ever, the Royal Mail is playing an important role in communities, delivering parcels and letters to keep the country together during this crisis.

For the most vulnerable who do not have the option to leave their homes, postmen and women have been delivering essential prescriptions and hospital appointments. The Royal Mail also recently announced that they have been chosen as a key partner in the delivery and return of coronavirus tests to NHS and social care frontline staff up and down the country.

The North-east MSP is urging everyone to give a thumbs up to their postie to say thank you to our local postal staff and as a handy reminder not to reach out to try and take parcels directly from postmen and women as the Royal Mail moves to contact-free delivery. He said:

“Royal Mail postal workers have continued to serve our communities across the North-east throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and deserve to be properly recognised and thanked for their hard work.

“One simple way of paying tribute to our Postal Workers and recognising their contributions is by ensuring we give them a big thumbs up for all that they are doing to keep Scotland connected.

“Coronavirus has highlighted exactly who our key workers are, and how essential they are and I think it’s paramount we show our gratitude to them."

24 April 2020

Parliamentary Praise as Local Bakers Set to Retire

Stewart Stevenson MSP has paid tribute to skilled local bakers Duncan and Audrey Clark as they announce their retirement from Seafield Bakery.

The couple have contributed many years of service to the local community and are well-known for their bakery products.

Mr Stevenson praised the couple, tabling a parliamentary motion which paid tribute to their Mr Blobby biscuits, pies and sweet treats, and wished them many happy years of retirement.

Commenting, the Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP said:

“Seafield Bakery has been a fixture of the Banff shopping scene for generations. Duncan and Audrey are nothing short of local heroes known for their skilled pies, delicious biscuits and scrumptious snacks.

“The pair have always provided service with a smile and have become somewhat famous locally for their reputation serving up some of the best sweet treats the North-east has to offer.

“Seafield Bakery will be deeply missed by many of us in Banff, but I wish Mr and Mrs Clark many happy years of well-earned retirement.”

23 April 2020

Stevenson: We Must Prepare for "New Normal" as Plan to Ease Lockdown Published

Stewart Stevenson MSP has said that the public must prepare for restrictions on normal life to continue for some time.

The comments come as the Scottish Government published a new document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life.

The paper - COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making - sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions.

It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.
Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is welcome that the Scottish Government has published an outline of how and when the lockdown may be lifted and I urge everyone to take the time to read the document.

“It is vital that any decision to ease restrictions is based on the best scientific advice possible – but we are in uncharted territory and we must be prepared to adapt. That might mean having to reapply restrictions after they are lifted.

“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to be clear about the factors that will inform decision making.

“In the coming days and weeks members of the public will be invited to contribute their thoughts and views on the next steps we must make together.

“Unfortunately, returning to what we regard as a normal life will not be possible in the near future so we need to prepare for a new normal until treatments and a vaccine offer different solutions.

“While these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

22 April 2020

Fishing Company Praised for "Extraordinary Generosity" by MSP after £200,000 Donation

Stewart Stevenson MSP has praised local fishing company Klondyke following a £200,000 donation to help boost local response to COVID-19.

The money, to be split equally between NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership, will be used to support staff as they deliver services in a completely different way.

NHS Grampian intends to use the money to purchase iPads for use across the organisation.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“This is a display of extraordinary generosity from Klondyke as they seek to help advance and amplify our local coronavirus response.

“It gives me an immense sense of community pride as we see support offered both big and small from businesses across the North-east to tackle this pandemic.

“These funds will provide assistance to our NHS and local health and social care partnership during this time of critical need.”

Sheena Lonchay, operational manager for NHS Grampian charities, said:

“In hospitals, iPads will enable patients to keep in contact with their families; this is particularly important at a time when visiting has been suspended in all but exceptional circumstances. In the community, they could be used by the community nursing teams to liaise with colleagues for additional medical or nursing advice. The devices could also be left with patients to reduce the frequency of visits by the nursing and healthcare teams.

“While the functions of iPads can be more limited than those provided by a laptop, the lack of a keyboard makes them easier to clean and provides more effective hygiene control.

“The public response to this pandemic has been quite staggering and the generosity shown by Klondyke is amazing.”

Angie Wood, Interim Chief Officer for the Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership said:

“We are incredibly thankful for this very generous donation. Like our colleagues at NHS Grampian it is our intention to use this money to help support our fantastic social care staff and clients stay connected during these unprecedented times.”

A spokesperson for Klondyke said:

“In making this donation the Directors and family wish to recognise the hard and dedicated work of all staff at NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council HSCP in delivering care to the vulnerable in our communities in what are extremely challenging times in dealing with this Coronavirus.”

Stevenson Warns of Increase in Scams During COVID-19 Crisis

Public Encouraged to be Vigilant and Report Scams

MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson has encouraged people in the North-east to be aware of scams and fake news following an increase in reports across Scotland about scam emails, text messages, and doorstep callers.

Across the UK there is evidence fraudsters are increasingly targeting members of the public, as well as organisations of all sizes, with emails, texts, telephone calls, social media messages and online shopping scams relating to the outbreak.

Police Scotland have now launched a new Shut Out Scammers resource to protect the public and businesses from COVID-19 related scams. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also launched an email reporting service, which the public can use to report any suspicious activity.
Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

"While the community response to the coronavirus outbreak in Grampian has been overwhelmingly positive, it's disappointing to see a few individuals taking advantage of the situation with unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages.

"During this coronavirus crisis, everyone in the North-east should take extra care to ensure that they only share information from trusted sources, ask for identification from all doorstep callers, and never hand over any personal information.

"It’s vital that people in Banffshire and Buchan Coast remain vigilant against scams during this challenging time and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities."

20 April 2020

Stewart Stevenson MSP Welcomes Home Learning Guidance

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has welcomed the publication of new guidance to support the home learning of children and young people during the new term.

It aims to build on the significant amount of positive work that has already been undertaken by teachers and education professionals across the North-east to support learning at home, as well as the advice and resources that are already available.

The guidance covers three key areas:
  • Learning and teaching at home
  • Parental involvement and engagement
  • Support for teachers and school leaders
Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

“Teachers have already worked phenomenally hard to provide continuity of care for vulnerable children and to children of key workers as part of the country’s COVID-19 emergency response, while also providing access to online learning for the majority of children who are not in schools.

“At this stage, and given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, we don’t know yet when North-east schools will be able to reopen and it’s right that we don’t rush to do so until it is deemed safe.

“However for many teachers and students this comes with a great deal of uncertainty and worry about the impact on their education, so both must be supported to ensure learning can continue.

“While we do not expect teachers, parents and families to replicate schools or classrooms, it’s great to see the Scottish Government working with all partners in Scotland’s education system to protect pupils’ wellbeing, and ensure learning can continue appropriately, wherever possible.”

17 April 2020

Stevenson Hails Additional Support for Scottish Seafood Industry

A Banffshire-based MSP has praised the Scottish Government after announcing £22.5million of funding for the seafood industry as more than 1,000 businesses are now eligible for help.

The announcement today of a further £3.5 million to help larger sea fishing vessels brings the total made available to the seafood industry by the Scottish Government from new and existing funds to £22.5 million.

This comes as the Scottish Government has used UK funding as well as the existing Scottish budget to help meet the unique needs and circumstances of key sectors in the rural economy hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

While the four financial support schemes announced so far will in particular help businesses based in coastal and island communities, key employers around Scotland involved in fish processing and trout farming will also benefit.

The latest scheme will provide capped payments of up to £21,370 per vessel to businesses with a vessel over 12 metres landing shellfish such as crab, lobster, scallop and langoustine to help them meet fixed costs like insurance. It will also provide up to £42,740 for businesses operating more than one vessel. Amounts will be graduated by fleet segment and length category.
Stewart Stevenson MSP, whose constituency includes Buckie, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, welcomed the funding:

“Today the Scottish Government have introduced by far and away the most generous scheme for the fishing industry in the UK. In fact, for the last few weeks, it was the only scheme across the four nations to support and protect our seafood industry.

“This new funding clearly demonstrates that we stand ready to help our fishing fleet, fish processors and food industry at this extremely difficult time for them.

“After listening to calls from businesses who have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight as their markets have shut down in response to vital public health advice. This latest funding will benefit more than 220 Scottish vessels over 12 metres.

“Overall, more than 1,000 fishing and aquaculture businesses are now eligible for funding to help them, their crews and staff through this unprecedented period.

“I would urge the public to play their part in supporting these key contributors to Scotland’s food success story by buying Scottish seafood and fish if they can.”

Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said:

“We welcome this further tranche of financial support for the Scottish fishing fleet, much of which has been under severe pressure since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our markets, first abroad and then at home. Most of the Scottish shellfish fleet has been tied up for almost a month now, as restrictions and lockdowns mean restaurant, hospitality and foodservice markets around the world that normally enjoy Scottish seafood, have essentially disappeared.

“Fishing businesses are floating businesses, so are not eligible for the COVID Small Business Grants Scheme based on rateable premises. We are grateful to Fergus Ewing and Marine Scotland for having regular dialogue with us, listening to industry, and acting quickly to provide support to the fishing industry and wider seafood sector, on which so many of our coastal communities depend.”

Elaine Whyte, a National Co-ordinator for Communities Inshore Fisheries Alliance, said:

“COVID-19 has had a great impact on our fishing communities, closing markets completely and reducing much-relied-upon income for coastal families nationally. We've worried greatly about securing some type of emergency assistance for this section of society which had lost the ability to earn a living at sea and provide for their families, many of whom were not eligible for other forms of current support.

“We sincerely thank the Scottish Government for addressing the needs of people who fish for a living, most of whom live in already fragile Scottish coastal communities. The support offered will hopefully help save vulnerable businesses which are the backbone of their villages and towns.”

15 April 2020

MSP Welcomes Additional Support for Businesses

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed a second phase of funding for businesses from the Scottish Government to protect against the effects of COVID-19.

Around £220 million of further grants are being made available for businesses - including the recently self-employed - to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new package of measures includes £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business ratepayers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.

A further £100 million fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to COVID. This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.

Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.
Commenting Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“I know that for many businesses the effects of coronavirus has been felt deeply and caused a great deal of concern and uncertainty. It is welcome news today that the Scottish Government is doing even more to urgently support business owners.

“While it remains a public health crisis there is no doubt that the Coronavirus outbreak is having severe economic consequences for businesses around the country.

“This new package of support from the Scottish Government will help businesses with the maximum financial capacity right now and offer lifeline funding to many of the businesses on the frontline of this economic crisis .”

14 April 2020

MSP Urges Residents "Stay at Home to Stay Safe"

Stewart Stevenson MSP believes that “there is light at the end of the tunnel” as the coronavirus lockdown enters its fourth week.

Acknowledging the hardship caused by restrictions on people’s lives, the SNP politician said it was “challenging to adapt” but stressed it was of the utmost importance that we all stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

The MSP reminded residents to self-isolate for fourteen days if anyone in their household was symptomatic and that means no one goes to the supermarket or for walks outside.

It comes as the number of NHS Grampian cases rises to 335.

Stewart Stevenson sees light at the end of the tunnel but for now it is essential that social distancing measures are observed.

Mr Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“It has now been three weeks since the lockdown was announced, and I know it has been challenging to adapt, but the advice remains to stay at home to stay safe.

“The impact on families, livelihoods and schooling has been profoundly difficult, of that there is no doubt. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – of that, there is no doubt.

“But that light will be a lot brighter if we follow the rules right now and stay at home and that includes the advice if anyone is symptomatic in your house everyone should stay in for fourteen days.”

The MSP added:

“I am well aware of people’s concerns, as they are frequently raised with me as the local MSP. There are many things that are difficult, but can be fixed.

“The one thing we can’t do is turn back time to save lives, so it is absolutely essential that we continue to do everything possible to protect people by staying at home.”

10 April 2020

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Urges People to Stay at Home This Easter

Responsible Access to Land Crucial to Stop Spread of Coronovirus

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has called on people across the North-east to stay at home this Easter weekend to help save lives and protect our NHS.

The MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said no one should be travelling to the North-east and other rural areas and that doing so not only risks spreading COVID-19 but puts an unnecessary burden on local healthcare providers and essential services.
The right of access does continue to apply and exercise remains an important part of physical and mental wellbeing during the current crisis but the Scottish Government have stressed that it must be done responsibly.

During the current emergency, everyone should:
  • Stay local – do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your own local area
  • Maintain your distance – stay at least 2 metres away from other people and avoid busy times on popular paths or places
  • Respect the health and safety of farmers and others working the land – follow all reasonable requests and signs to avoid particular areas such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas
  • Keep your dog under control – put them on a lead or keep them close at heel and do not let them approach other people or livestock
  • Avoid contact – try to avoid touching surfaces and plan a route that does not require you to open gates
  • The Scottish Outdoor Access Code requires that people walking dogs act responsibly, take notice of any signs, and prevent their dogs from scaring or attacking any livestock.
  • Farmers and other land managers are entitled and indeed encouraged, to put up signs when they have pregnant or young livestock in a field.
  • If threatened by cattle, release your dog and take the shortest route out of the field. As always pick up and remove all waste.
  • Crucially, no one should be driving to take their daily exercise. By ensuring that we continue to strictly abide by these measures, we will protect the NHS and save lives.
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“This is a temporary situation and it is more important now than ever to maintain good relationships between neighbours and within communities.

“This is not about restricting the general right of responsible access to land but it is part of the wider approach to prevent COVID-19 deaths and preserving the nation’s food supplies.

“Of course, exercise remains extremely important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing during the current crisis.

“Even simple activities such as getting out for a walk can greatly improve our wellbeing during this difficult time. But it is crucial to keep it local and follow social distancing guidelines set out by the government.

“The best way to beat the pandemic is to stop the spread of the virus - and for this reason, it is essential potential people stay at home, and give our NHS a chance to save lives.”

6 April 2020

Stevenson Welcomes New Support for Fish Processors

A new £10 million pound scheme has been created by the Scottish Government to help seafood processors during the coronavirus pandemic has been welcomed.

As a result of the outbreak, international markets have shut and demand has been greatly reduced as restaurants and cafes across the UK follow government orders to close.

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, who has fishing communities on the east coast including Peterhead and Fraserburgh in his constituency has welcomed the new Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund.
He said he hoped the new scheme, which provides a combination of grants and loans, will be a boost to seafood businesses fighting for survival and threatening livelihoods in coastal areas.

Mr Stevenson added:

“This support is crucial to ensuring seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis, fish processors are reliant on buoyant markets, which have clearly collapsed with COVID-19.

“It is important we support them through this difficult period so I am pleased the Scottish Government has established a hardship fund for fish processors.

“They depend on the quality fish and seafood caught by fishermen, particularly those on the west coast, so the hope is that in supporting the fish processors there will also be support for the fish catching sector.”

4 April 2020

MSP Welcomes Support for Agriculture

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has welcomed farm payment schemes to alleviate COVID-19 pressures.

Around 7,000 specialist beef producers will benefit from payments worth around £40 million in the coming weeks, ensuring money is still going to farmers and crofters during these unprecedented and challenging times.

A further 469 convergence payments worth £768,500 have also been processed this week, mainly for new entrants to farming.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Suckler herds form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland, and so it is welcome news that the first tranche of the 2019 Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments will begin shortly.

“I am also pleased that the Scottish Government are making the convergence funds go further, reaching new entrants who are so important to the future of farming.

“All of these payments will aid business cash flow, helping to support farmers and crofters to continue to produce the quality meat products that Scotland is globally renowned for – and which we now need on our supermarket shelves more than ever.

“These are unprecedented and difficult times for the whole country and it is vital that we support our farmers and crofters. But we also need to keep the food supply chain moving. I would, therefore, encourage farmers and crofters to use their CAP payments to pay their bills and make investments for the seasons ahead to help keep money flowing through Scotland’s rural economy.”

2 April 2020

North East MSPs Back Campaign for Home Safety During Coronovirus

"Prevent Accidents, Protect Your Family, Help the NHS"

Stewart Stevenson MSP and Gillian Martin MSP have backed a new campaign aimed at preventing avoidable accidents in the home to ease pressure on the NHS during the Covid-19 outbreak.

As the majority of Scots stay at home, in line with Government guidance, it is vital that people take precautions to create a safe home environment and avoid accidental injury.

The new campaign – "Accident Free, Avoid A&E" – led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), highlights that more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else.

The campaign’s central message emphasises the need to reduce preventable accidents and help frontline health services – Prevent accidents, Protect your family, Help the NHS.

RoSPA hopes to draw attention to some common dangers in the home. For example, trampolines are one of the most frequent causes of A&E attendances - posing a particular risk to children.

Mr Stevenson noted the practical information outlined by the campaign - with guidance for older people and children, tips for setting up a safe workspace, DIY risks and fire safety advice amongst other things.

The MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“The most important thing we can do to help our NHS right now is stay at home.

“But as we adopt to this new way of living during the outbreak, we must be particularly careful to avoid injury that will place undue pressure on our public health service at a time when it is faced with a global health crisis.

“Small steps can prevent accidents in the home and this will enable crucial frontline health workers to deal with an influx of patients during the pandemic.

“All too often, the safety community hears that parents or carers were unaware of some of the steps we can a
ll take to keep our homes safe. RoSPA’s new campaign provides a simple and useful resource for creating a safe home environment.”

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP added:

“Ensuring that the NHS has the capacity to treat those who need it most will be critical as we navigate one of the most challenging periods in living memory.

“Now, more than ever, as more of us are at home, a proactive approach to safety will help our amazing NHS as they fight to overcome this coronavirus.

“Through individual responsibility and collective effort, we will beat this.”

Elizabeth Lumsden, Community Safety Manager at RoSPA Scotland, said:

"As part of its campaign, RoSPA has compiled a useful list of safety tips and wellbeing suggestions which can be accessed at www.rospa.com/AccidentFree.

"There is some potentially invaluable information such as tips for older people to avoid falls and exercises that people can do so they are able to get up from a fall if they are on their own.

"There is a wealth of information available from organisations across the safety community. We are urging people to be safety conscious. Our NHS does so much to support us - we must support it in return."

1 April 2020

MSP Welcomes Greater Support for GP Practices

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed additional funding of £15 million to be provided to GP practices to help them cope with extra pressures arising from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Around a third of the funding is intended to allow practices to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday if it is safe to do so – helping to alleviate pressures on out-of-hours services.

The remainder will help to cover costs of equipment, additional non-clinical staff, GP partners and locum cover for sickness leave.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“I am extremely proud of how quickly GPs have responded to this challenge with flexibility and ingenuity and want to thank all GP practice staff for their incredible hard work throughout this pandemic. They are doing an invaluable job to keep crucial primary care services going in very challenging circumstances.

“There is also a huge amount of work being put in from the Scottish Government and across the system and now is the time for us to pull together, for clear thinking and strong leadership.

“I warmly welcome the package of additional funding for GP practices to help them meet some of the costs of responding to COVID-19. Part of this will help to cover the cost of remaining open on Good Friday and Easter Monday and the remainder will help to meet other costs being faced by practices during this difficult time.

“Our NHS is changing, and at the forefront of that change is the primary care response. General practice is part of that protective ring around the hospital system that will help us all cope with the surge in demand we are expecting."

31 March 2020

North-East MSP Urges People to "Stay Local" When Exercising

Stewart Stevenson MSP has urged constituents in Banffshire and Buchan Coast to 'stay local' when exercising and walking dogs, and avoid any unnecessary travel that could help spread coronavirus.



Official advice from the Scottish and UK governments warns that people in the North-east should not be driving somewhere with the intent of doing exercise or walking their dog – with new powers granted to police to enforce these regulations.



To protect yourself and others from illness and save lives, people in Banffshire and Buchan Coast should also avoid driving to beauty spots. 

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:


 

"Of course, exercise is extremely important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, so it's important to note that people in the North-east can leave their homes for exercise once a day, with members of their own household. 

 

"However, you should only be outside for a reasonable purpose – buying food or essential household or medical supplies; travelling to or carrying out essential work; exercising once a day; or providing care or assistance to others.

 

"I’d urge the public to make use of gardens - if they can - and stay local when exercising or walking dogs, to ensure that we stop the spread of coronavirus.

 

"This is about saving lives and protecting our NHS. We all recognise how unusual these regulations are, and the Scottish Government will act to remove these restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so."

30 March 2020

Stevenson Calls for Healthy Scottish Volunteers

Stewart Stevenson MSP has urged healthy people in Scotland to volunteer to support vulnerable people in the North-east during the coronavirus pandemic.

People are being asked to go to the Ready Scotland website if they wish to provide practical or emotional help.

The drive is the focus of the Scottish government's new Scotland Cares campaign.
While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need.

Those wanting to volunteer to support their communities have three options which are signposted from the Ready Scotland website:
  • returning NHS workers will be directed to existing voluntary arrangements in NHS Scotland
  • people wishing to offer their support to our public services, including the NHS and local authorities, will be directed to a site coordinated by the British Red Cross
  • those looking for opportunities with other charities or community groups in their area will be directed to Volunteer Scotland for information
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“The last few weeks have been challenging for us all, yet the community spirit and desire of local people to help has in itself been unprecedented and once again shows our heart as a nation.

“Today the Scottish Government have launched a campaign calling on ordinary people who want to share their kindness with others to register as a Community Reserve Volunteer (CRV) and be part of Scotland-wide preparations to protect the NHS, support people in need and help save lives.

“While not everyone will be able to volunteer, through the readyscotland.org website, we can connect people to where their contribution is most needed locally.

“It is important to remember that the most helpful thing many of us can continue to do to help the NHS is to stay at home and follow all COVID-19 guidance.”

MSP Welcomes Measures to Protect Renters from Eviction

Scottish Government Announces Six-Month Ban on Evictions

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement that private and social tenants in the North-east are to be given increased protection from eviction during the coronavirus pandemic.
Emergency legislation will increase the minimum notice period for private and social tenants to up to six months depending on the grounds used, helping to protect them from eviction.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, which contains substantial further powers and measures to ensure essential public services can continue throughout the coronavirus outbreak, will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday).

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

“We must all work together to meet this challenge, which is why I am pleased that measures have been introduced to prevent evictions and relieve some of the financial pressure people in the North-east may be facing due to the coronavirus crisis.

“The Scottish Government has encouraged all landlords to be as flexible as possible during this unprecedented time, and I would urge them to also seek assistance if necessary by speaking to their lenders about mortgage breaks.

“No-one should face losing their home as a result of this coronavirus pandemic. The move to ban evictions during this crisis will bring security to people's lives when they need it most.”

25 March 2020

MSP Makes Urgent Appeal for Retired Health Professionals to Support the NHS

Stewart Stevenson MSP has made an urgent appeal to constituents who can volunteer their time to fight coronavirus as the NHS launches targeted calls for volunteers.

NHS Scotland announced last week their plans to recruit volunteers with relevant skills and experience to support front line staff as demand and needs increase.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP has now urged anyone who has left the professional register within the last three years as a Registered Nurse, Midwife, paramedic, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, diagnostic or therapeutic radiographer, biomedical scientist, pharmacist or pharmacy technician or medical practitioner is being urged to return to the NHS in their professional capacity.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“In its hour of need, I want to add my plea to any recently retired NHS staff who could return to work and offer their skills and support to help deal with the current demands on our health service.

“I am under no illusions of how big an ask this is, but I want to be clear that we need many more staff.

“The whole country needs the NHS right now and so I want to appeal to you if you're a recently retired healthcare professional then your NHS needs you.”

24 March 2020

Stevenson's Call for Action to Help the Self-Employed

Stewart Stevenson MSP is demanding more support from the UK Government to help self-employed workers and freelancers impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

The North East MSP is calling for the Jobs Retention Scheme announced last week to be expanded to include the self-employed. He also appealed for a change in the rules to enable more people to access statutory sick pay.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast representative has welcomed the funding commitments from both the Scottish and UK Government to support local businesses during these extremely challenging times, however, he’s been in touch with many self-employed constituents who are concerned at the lack of support for them.
Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

“Action must be taken to provide more support for the self-employed and the current measures in place do not go far enough. There are 330,000 self-employed workers in Scotland, who are critical to our economy, and they must not be left behind in the response to this crisis.

“This is an anxious time for thousands of self-employed workers in the North-east, many of whom have contacted me raising legitimate concerns about their individual needs.

“They are extremely worried about their income given that, in many cases, orders and events have been cancelled and customers are staying at home and opting not to spend money.

“I know that UK Ministers are being lobbied hard to build on the welcome support already announced for employees and businesses, but we can’t afford to leave the self-employed behind as they are fundamental to our economy and will face ruin if similar help is not forthcoming.”

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

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP