Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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25 March 2003

Stevenson Meets SAC Students And Raises College Closure In Parliamentary Committee

Banff & Buchan SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has met students from the threatened campuses of the Scottish Agricultural College at the Scottish Parliament to hear their concerns at first hand.

The MSP then raised the closure issue at today’s meeting of the Parliament’s Rural Development Committee.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Stevenson said:

“The Rural Development Committee agreed unamimously today that centralising the Scottish Agricultural College in Edinburgh was not the way forward. In addition, a number of flaws were identified in the assumptions made in the report which recommends centralisation.

“I think this decision to move the agricultural college from the North-east to Edinburgh is just bizarre. However, I would be optimistic at this stage that common sense will prevail but I’m certainly not taking anything for granted and will continue to reflect the views of those students and members of the farming community who have contacted me on this matter.”

10 March 2003

Stevenson Raises Post Office Concerns At Meeting

Banff & Buchan SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has met with Post Office officials in Edinburgh where he put forward a range of issues raised with him by local sub-postmasters.

Mr Stevenson met with Julie Morrison, Royal Mail Group’s Head of Scottish Affairs at their Edinburgh Headquarters.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This was a useful opportunity following my recent visits to local Post Offices in Maud and St Modan’s Place in Fraserburgh to put forward the issues and concerns which were brought to my attention.

“Primary of these was the apparent lack of marketing effort being made by the Post Office authorities with regard to retaining existing customers who want to continue to have access to their pension or benefit at their local Post Office.

“I was briefed on a number of initiatives which are planned to inform customers which will be accompanied by advertising and media stories. The main message is that everyone can continue to collect their money at their local Post Office just as they are doing at present.

“By doing so, not only will they have the convenience of access to their money and a whole range of other services in their own locality without having to go to their bank or find a cash machine, but they will also be helping to support their local Post Office.”

MSP Comments On Stuartfield Post Office Closure

Commenting on the news that Stuartfield Post Office has been closed temporarily, Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“I raised this matter with Post Office senior management when I met with them on Wednesday. They gave me every assurance that the closure is temporary and that they are working to get it re-opened as soon as possible. I have urged that if this cannot be done reasonably quickly that a temporary service, perhaps in the village hall, be set up.

“Stuartfield is a sizeable rural Buchan village and to have their Post Office closed, albeit temporarily, without any consultation or alternative service put in place is unacceptable.

“The Post Office is a focal point for the community and is essential for the elderly. It is completely unsatisfactory that they should be left in the position of being unable to use services or draw pensions without any warning whatsoever.”

3 March 2003

MSP Pays Tribute To Local Mercy Crews In Parliament Debate

Banff & Buchan SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has paid tribute to local ambulance staff in a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Stevenson was speaking as MSPs discussed the Scottish Ambulance Service and paid tribute to staff at Peterhead and Fraserburgh ambulance stations – the two busiest part-time stations in the country. Following a successful campaign by the SNP MSP, Fraserburgh was upgraded to 24-hour status in December and Peterhead is to follow suit this year.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Stevenson said:

“Until recently, Fraserburgh and Peterhead were the two busiest part-time ambulance stations in Scotland. I am delighted that after a long campaign—started by Alex Salmond and supported by local councillors—Fraserburgh became 24-hour station in December. Peterhead will be upgraded in the coming year and I look forward to visiting Fraserburgh station shortly.

“There is absolutely no doubt about the commitment of staff in the Scottish Ambulance Service to doing a quality job. The throughput of work that the Fraserburgh service handles has doubled in 10 years and its staff must be given huge credit for handling that workload professionally and in an exemplary manner, even though Fraserburgh was a part-time station. While I have the Minister's attention, I hope that she will tell me when Peterhead will become a 24-hour station. The commitment has been made, but the timetable has not yet been set.

“Although Peterhead and Fraserburgh were undoubtedly the busiest part-time stations in Scotland, it is probably important that the metrics dealt with the number of calls.

“We must consider public service and the health and safety of ambulance staff. It is vital that we do not place staff in the position of working an arduous shift, then being on standby to work, in effect, another shift, only for them to have to go to work again the following day.

“We cannot allow such situations to continue, either for the staff or for the people who live in the areas that part-time ambulance stations serve. Accidents can happen at any time of the day or night.”

In response, the Deputy Minister for Health & Community Care, Mary Mulligan, acknowledged the situation at Peterhead Ambulance Station and undertook to advise Mr Stevenson of the timescale for upgrade.

Tory Party in Meltdown

“Skippers Will Find Tory President No Champion” says MSP Stevenson

The news that former Tory MP, Sir Albert McQuarrie is to support the new Fishing Party has been revealed today. Until now Sir Albert has been President of Banff and Buchan Conservatives.

Speaking after the revelation, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said;

“As if losing nine candidates across Scotland was not bad enough news for the Tories, this latest news blows cracks their party in the North-East wide open.

“When a senior figure in the Tory party defects it shows that Tory Party is in very deep trouble indeed. As a former MP and an office bearer of Banff and Buchan Tories, Sir Albert McQuarrie should have been playing a leading role for the Tories in the Scottish Parliament elections. Their campaign is now in total disarray.”

And on the Fishing Party, Stevenson commented;

“Support for the Fishing Party set up by some disaffected skippers who were previously affiliated to the Tories, will be hit. This has blown the gaff on the Fishing Party as a stalking horse for the Tories.”

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