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 physical mail addressed to our office at a staff member's home address.

Please do not use social media as a channel to make requests to us as these personal accounts are monitored less frequently.

Understand that the pandemic may mean 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.

14 January 2021

North-East MSPs Welcome Funding for Schools and Families

North-east MSPs have welcomed a new package of £45million to help local authorities to provide support to schools and families as they deal with the challenges of remote learning during lockdown.

The funding was announced by Education Secretary John Swinney and councils can use the funding for purposes including recruitment of extra staff, additional digital devices or to provide additional family support.

Both Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin and Stewart Stevenson MSP have welcomed the move.

The cash-boost is on top of £160 million already committed for education recovery since the start of the pandemic.

Private and third sector day care of children settings will also receive almost £4 million in temporary financial support.

Photo predates COVID
and social distancing
Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said:

“I welcome this further tranche of funding to help support the many families across the north-east having to home school and work all in the same house.

“We know how important additional resources are to support children remote learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all the dedicated, hard-working teachers who are having to educate children in challenging circumstances.

“And to parents who’ve face additional pressures of working from home as well helping their children to learn and care for their wellbeing.

“Funding for childcare for vulnerable children and key worker families can help to protect children at risk and allow frontline staff to help protect us all as we continue to work from home and protect one another against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This new funding will be vital in helping to support teachers and home learning right across my constituency and indeed the country.

“Remote learning can be very difficult and funding to allow more support and to ease the burden placed on all those contributing to children’s learning is a very necessary step.”

12 January 2021

'Hammer Blow' as Scottish Seafood Exporters Losing 'Up to £1 million a day'

Tory Brexit Sell-Out Causing Chaos for Scottish Businesses

The SNP has renewed calls for the UK government to compensate businesses in Scotland suffering the effects of the Tory Brexit sell-out – after industry leaders warned that post-Brexit delays are costing Scottish seafood exporters over £1million per day.

James Withers, head of Scotland Food & Drink, told PoliticsHome that Scottish seafood exporters to the EU “could be losing upwards of one million pounds in sales a day” as a result of Brexit disruption and delays.

David Leiper, managing director of Peterhead company Seafood Ecosse, said the situation facing exporters was “a disgrace” and questioned: “Why should private companies take the pain for government incompetence?”

Alastair Roberts, who owns three fishing boats in Greenock, told LBC yesterday that Brexit “has ended up a lot worse than expected” and warned that “buyers in France, Spain, Italy […] will go elsewhere” for their seafood as a result of Brexit delays.

It has also been reported that some fish prices fell by as much as 80% at Peterhead market yesterday due to new paperwork demands and export blockages.
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The fact that the UK government only completed the Brexit deal days before the end of the transition period - which they repeatedly refused to extend - has simply made it impossible for businesses to properly prepare.

“Scotland has been dragged out of the EU against our will and now huge damage is being done to one of our most valuable food exports, with our seafood sector being hammered to the tune of £1 million a day.

“The Tories must now answer for their betrayal of our fishing and seafood sectors, apologise to the Scottish businesses bearing the brunt of Boris Johnson's sell-out deal, and pay compensation to those who face the devastating double-whammy of Brexit during a global pandemic.

“The SNP repeatedly warned that there would be no Brexit advantage to the fish processing industry, and the Tory promise of a ‘sea of opportunity’ for the Scottish fishing industry has now been exposed as completely hollow.

"Scotland has been ignored by Westminster throughout this whole Brexit process. The only way to protect our interests, regain the benefits of EU membership and secure our place in Europe is to become an independent country."

Stevenson Slams Tories Broken Promises to North-East Farmers

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has slammed Westminster for breaking its promises to north-east farmers just weeks after the end of the Brexit transition period.

It comes after the UK Tory government announced plans to consult on the introduction of gene-editing.

Commercial planting of GM crops is currently banned in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following decisions in 2015 – but without EU protection, the Tories are now threatening to overrule the devolved administrations and drive down Scotland’s high-quality food standards.

Despite the ban, the Tory Power Grab Bill allows ministers to override Scottish Ministers in certain areas, including in farming and food standards.

The proposal to introduce pesticide neonicotinoid is a promise which has been explicitly broken after Michael Gove promised not to U-turn on it. The pesticide is used for sugar beet but is harmful to bees.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:
“The harsh realities of the Tories’ Power Grab Bill are coming home to roost now, with Boris Johnson’s government threatening to impose GM crops on Scotland – despite a ban.

“Our local food and drink sector is world-renowned for being of the highest quality, so these plans to introduce GM crops will come as a devastating blow to the industry that is already struggling to deal with the impact of Brexit.

“Thanks to the Tories, the UK’s global reputation may well be damaged beyond repair, but we want to maintain Scotland’s clean, green reputation when it comes to food and drink standards.

“If the Tories won’t listen to the warnings from Scottish farmers right here in the north-east, and across Scotland, then it is clear the only way to protect Scotland’s interests is as an independent, European nation.”

11 January 2021

North-East MSPs Welcome Top-Up Grants for Businesses

North-east MSPs have welcomed a significant top-up grant to help support hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across the region.

In addition to the grant businesses receive through the Strategic Business Framework Fund, eligible businesses will also now get a one-off grant dependent on size.

Photo taken pre-COVID
and social distancing
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin and Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson have welcomed the move.

It means larger hospitality businesses will receive £25,000 on top of the four-weekly £3,000 while smaller hospitality businesses will receive £6,000 on top of four-weekly payments of £2,000.

Meanwhile, larger retail and leisure businesses will receive an additional £9,000 on top of their four-weekly payment and smaller retail and leisure businesses will be eligible for £6,000 on top of their four-weekly payment.

In most cases, eligible businesses that have already applied for the 4-weekly payment from the Strategic Framework Business Fund will get an automatic top-up.

For the majority, this top-up will be combined with the next tranche of payment for the Strategic Framework Business Fund due to go to businesses on 25 January.

Businesses that haven’t yet applied for either of these funds should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website. Applications are now open.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said:

“These grants are vital for businesses and I very much welcome this announcement by the Finance Secretary.

“I would urge businesses from across retail, hospitality and leisure to apply for funding to help them during this challenging time.

“This essential support will help to close the gaps in UK-wide support for these sectors impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would encourage all businesses to apply through their local authority.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Since the start of the pandemic the Scottish Government support for businesses and the wider economy has reached almost £3billion.

“This funding will be available from this month and will help to double or triple in some cases, the support being provided. I echo the sentiments of the Finance Secretary and hope this support will help businesses during this time.”

Stevenson Welcomes Clmate Funding for North-East Schooli

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed funding for a north-east school to help tackle climate change.

Fraserburgh Academy has been awarded £8,612 toward food group equipment from the Community Climate Asset Fund.
Organisations across Scotland have been given funding allocations as part of the green recovery strategy set out by the Scottish Government.

The fast-tracked funding aims to help tackle climate change deliver Scotland’s green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I am delighted for Fraserburgh Academy who will greatly benefit from this award.

“Now more than ever, our work towards a Just Transition and our net zero targets is vital,,as we continue through this incredibly challenging time for us all.

“I look forward to seeing the work carried out by Fraserburgh Academy in due course.”

8 January 2021

Stevenson Urges North-East Families to Apply for New Payment

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has urged north-east families to apply for a new payment which will open next month.

The Scottish Child Payment has already received 56,000 applications from across Scotland after families were given early access due to expected demand.

Those who applied prior to the 15th of February will have their payments calculated from then.

Parents have been encouraged to make their applications now to avoid losing out on money.

The new benefit will give eligible families on tax credits or certain benefits an extra £40 every four weeks for children under six.

Scotland is the only part of the UK where this additional payment for families with young children will be available.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has forecast that the payment could support up to 194,000 children this financial year.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is clear many families have already put in their applications early and I would encourage those living in the north-east who would be eligible to also do so.

“The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken in the UK but there are many more families who are entitled to this support and it is important they are able to get every penny that is due.

“We know how many families will have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has had on the economy.

“The form takes only 10 minutes to complete and the extra financial support could help ease financial pressure as a result of the national lockdown and following the Christmas period.”

4 January 2021

North-East MSPs Urge Everyone to Stick to Lockdown Rules Amid New Restrictions

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson and Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin are urging everyone in the north-east to adhere strictly to the new Covid restrictions announced today.

During an emergency recall of the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that, from tomorrow and for the duration of January, there will be a legal requirement for everyone in Level 4 areas to stay at home except for essential purposes. This is similar to the lockdown of March last year.

Commenting on the new restrictions, Gillian Martin MSP said:

“I know how difficult this further lockdown will be for everyone - but it is absolutely necessary to bring this killer virus under control.

“If the country does not act now then we risk the NHS being overwhelmed and even more people will die because of this virus.

“This is not a theoretical risk – it is the desperate reality Scotland faces now and over the coming weeks.

“That means everyone must play their part in a national fightback. And that means sticking to both the letter and the spirit of the new rules. Do not look for loopholes.

“So please stay at home and don’t go out unless it is entirely necessary. And do not travel beyond Aberdeenshire if you are going out to exercise.

“If your usual exercise spot is busy, don’t add to the crowd. Try somewhere else close by where you are not giving the virus more opportunities to spread.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“We know there is renewed hope with the rollout beginning of a second vaccine – and they will be delivered to the population as fast as possible - but they can’t protect us all yet.

“So we must not let our guard down. Instead, we must re-double our vigilance and stick even more tightly to these toughened new rules.

“I know these sacrifices are very difficult but they will not be in place for a moment longer than absolutely necessary. But, unfortunately, they are currently more vital than ever.

“I know everyone in the north-east will play their part in this national effort and together we will get through this.

“So, please, stick to the rules: Stay Home. Save lives. Protect the NHS.”

NOTE: Photo taken before pandemic - stay at home and social distancing rules now apply.

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