Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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13 December 2001

Welcome For Executive Focus On Prison Performance Over Costs

“Peterhead’s Excellent Record Must Now Be Rewarded” says MSP Stewart Stevenson

Parliament today debated an SNP motion noting the Executive’s failure to bring forward an appropriate strategy for Scotland’s prisons. With the Justice Mininster’s amendment to the SNP motion stating, inter alia, “.. work to upgrade the estate must deliver prisons capable of providing sufficient humane and secure accomodation while delivering value for money”, hopes have risen that the world class unit at Peterhead will be protected.

Speaking in the debate, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said,

“The Executive’s amendment gives priority, clearly and unambiguously, to what prisons do over what prisons cost. After the prevarications, distortions and errors – I use that word out of charity – in the evidence given by the head of the prison service to the Justice 1 Committee on 23 October, it’s clear that ministers are not going to heed Cameron’s single-minded focus on cost regardless of outcome.

“Running a public service like a business – as Mr Cameron has often stated that he wishes to – is to fail to understand that the dividends we want are societal rather than fiscal.

“We want protection for society, punishment for offenders and reform of their future behaviour.”

Speaking after the debate, Stevenson observed,

“Staff morale in Peterhead Prison has been under pressure for some time because of the very lengthy delay in bringing forward plans for redevelopment of the present buildings which date back over 100 years.

“I now see a chink of light in that Ministers seem prepared to resist a single-minded focus on cost when society has a whole has greater concerns about successful treatment for sex offenders.

“Peterhead’s record is unassailable. For the first time we see the Executive beginning to share the priorities of the wider community. Now is the time reward Peterhead’s success.”

6 December 2001

Local Government Minister’s Statement on Finance for Councils Misses Target Completely

“Essential that Aberdeenshire gains proper funding from Scottish Executive” says MSP

Following a Ministerial statement on the Local Government Settlement for 2002-03 and 2003-04, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has criticised the New Labour – Liberal-Democrat Executive’s continued failure to fund Aberdeenshire adequately. Speaking today [Thursday], Stewart Stevenson said,

“Today’s funding announcement continues the dismal record of neglect of the rural North-East from this Executive. Aberdeenshire’s increase leaves our area with about 91% of the Scottish average and well behind comparable rural areas.

“They continue to show how out of touch they are with the realities of life in Aberdeenshire. The prosperity of the city of Aberdeen where a similar increase has been granted is at odds with our experience in rural areas.

“Aberdeenshire Council have said that they are at the bottom of the league among rural areas in receiving financial support. This settlement does nothing to change that at a time when we need improvement in services for all our people. And with recent employment difficulties in mind, now was the time to give us a substantial increase.”

Turning to the Scottish economy and and the ability of Scottish businesses to compete, Mr Stevenson commented,

“With our national economy growing at about 1% per annum and with manufacturing industry suffering badly, this increase in Council funding will still not allow the creation of an infrastructure for growth. Business gets little or nothing from this settlement.

“The planned introduction of an Aggregates Tax next year will be particularly harmful to Scottish business and see a net outflow to the London Exchequer. This is just one example of business-unfriendly and rural-hostile policies being pursued by this government both in Edinburgh and in London.”

5 December 2001

Peoples Network Awards For The Shire

The People’s Network Awards from the New Opportunities Fund announced today include £490,474 for the installation of computer terminals in libraries throughout Aberdeenshire. Welcoming this lottery award MSP for Banff & Buchan Stewart Stevenson, himself a former technology director with Bank of Scotland, said:

“This is a much needed investment which will benefit many people in our community. The ability to freely access information is vital in the modern world. Clubs, societies and campaign groups as well as individuals will now be able to promote their interests more effectively.

“It is slightly ironic that a fund set up to help the most disadvantaged of communities in Scotland should be helping Aberdeenshire. It highlights that there are two ‘North-Easts', the prosperous city and a rural economy which runs at a substantially slower pace.

“I hope that the Scottish Executive takes note of this when it considers the levels of support required across a range of its funding including the Council, roads and new electronic communications. To date they have largely ignored our needs.”

Stewart Stevenson
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However Google who publish for us, may do.
fiosZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

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