Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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31 December 2019

Stevenson Welcomes Canadian Breakthrough for Scotch Beef

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement that Scotch Beef is being sold in Canada for the first time in 24 years following a campaign supported by the Scottish Government.

Aberdeen Angus is on the menu at steakhouse Jacob’s & Co in Toronto, Ontario, making it the first Canadian restaurant to sell Scotch Beef since a ban on UK beef imports was introduced in 1996.

Speciality grocer Denninger's has also reintroduced Scotch Beef to its fresh meat counters across its five stores in Ontario.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This is very welcome news indeed for the beef sector and I pay tribute to the huge amount of work done by Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish Government, and others to get Scotch Beef back on the market in Canada.

“The key selling point for Scotch Beef is its high quality backed by a trusted brand. I’m delighted this breakthrough has been made and look forward to further opportunities in the re-emerging Canadian market.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said:

“I’m delighted that, after 24 years, Scotch Beef is now available in a Canadian restaurant and can be bought in stores alongside some of the finest global produce. Since Canada reopened its market, we have been committed to connecting key buyers and retailers with Scotch Beef farmers.

“This is the result of significant work by many to support Scottish producers and engage potential Canadian buyers, including Quality Meat Scotland and our dedicated food and drink in-market specialist who took businesses out to meet farmers and producers.

“There is a growing appetite for premium produce with a strong sense of Scottish provenance which we should capitalise on. Scotch Beef exports are currently worth £46.4m to our economy and we will work closely with partner agencies and businesses to help this grow.”

29 December 2019

Tories Should Match Scotland's Support for Nursing Students - MSP

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has said the Tories have failed their first test of support for the NHS by trying to train nursing students on the cheap - and called for Boris Johnson to match Scotland's support for nursing students.

The call comes after Prime Minister Johnson offered student nurses in England bursaries worth only half of those in Scotland – and failed to remove tuition fees from nursing courses.

Bursaries for student nurses in England were scrapped as part of the Tories’ austerity measures - a policy that led to more than a 30% drop in nursing applications.

In stark contrast, they were protected and increased in Scotland by the SNP Scottish Government with numbers of nursing student numbers in Scotland having increased for the seventh year in a row. Thanks to the decisions of the Scottish Government, nursing students in Scotland will also receive an increased bursary of £10,000 per year from next September and already benefit from free tuition.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Boris Johnson is failing the NHS and failing those in England who want to become nurses - he wants to train nurses on the cheap and leave them facing huge debts.

“This is after the Tories removed nursing bursaries and introduced tuition fees that led to a 30% drop in nursing student applications at a time when NHS England faced over 40,000 nursing vacancies.

“In Scotland, student nurses will receive a bursary of £10,000 from next September and already benefit from free tuition. The Tories are now offering only half of that and still expect nursing students, who train on the job, to pay thousands in tuition fees.

“This announcement shows that the Tories remain as out of touch with the real cost of living and as wedded to austerity as ever.

“It is time the Tories followed Scotland’s lead, to attract more people into the profession, and gave student nurses the support they need by raising the bursary to £10,000 and making tuition fees free for all.”

27 December 2019

Local SNP Enjoys Post-Election Membership Boost

SNP Branches across Banff & Buchan have been enjoying a post-election membership boost with new members joining the party in the wake of the election result which saw the SNP winning the election in Scotland, taking seats from Labour and the Lib Dems and the number of Tory seats being more than halved.

Nationally, the SNP has received more than 5,000 applications for membership in the past two weeks. The party has seen a consistent rise in its membership in recent years going from just over 25,000 in 2013 to more than 90,000 in 2014. As at December 2018, membership was at 125,500.

Commenting, MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast Stewart Stevenson said:

“The SNP has had an overwhelming response since the General Election from people applying to join the Party from across the country.

“As well as this spike in membership applications, this month also saw the pledge for independence reach the milestone of 500,000 signatories and of course, there are now a dozen new SNP MPs fighting to make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster.

“I look forward to working with all of our members – old, new and those yet to join –as we work hard to deliver the best government for Scotland and move forward to independence.”

You can join the SNP online at

SNP Call for Action on 1,000 Army Homes Sitting Empty

Figures Renew Calls for UK MoD to House Homeless Veterans

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has renewed the party’s call for the UK Ministry of Defence to use empty homes to house veterans – after new figures showed more than 1,000 army homes remain unoccupied.

The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information, show that the number of vacant MoD properties in Scotland has increased from 690 in 2013 to 1,087 this year.

While some of these properties are in need of modernisation or have structural damage, many are considered “surplus” and could be used as homes.

The SNP manifesto contained a commitment to press the UK Government to use vacant MoD homes to house homeless veterans.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Veterans deserve to be supported by the UK Government, and it’s tragic that some veterans find themselves homeless.

“The UK MoD has a duty of care to veterans and should do everything they can to help those who struggle.

“The SNP Scottish Government is taking action to reduce the number of privately-owned empty homes across Scotland.

“Yet for three years, more than 1,000 UK MoD owned homes have sat empty – many of which are perfectly suitable for use.

“It’s not right that those homes lie empty and it is in their gift to put them to good use and support ending homelessness.”

26 December 2019

Surge In Tree Planting Under SNP

UK Government Needs to Take Action on Climate Change

The SNP has challenged the UK Government to match its ambition on tree planting after figures show that over 200,000 hectares have been planted in Scotland since the party came to power.

The SNP Government is leading the way in the UK on tree planting – with Scotland planting 22 million trees last year alone and making up nearly 84% of the UK’s mainland tree planting last year.

Figures from Forest Research, a leading forestry data organisation, show that between 2007 and 2019, a total of 201,430 hectares of new planting and restocking took place in Scotland.

The SNP has pledged to plant 36 million trees a year by 2030 to tackle the climate emergency.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Increasing tree planting can play a key role in tackling climate change.

“Trees are the planet’s lungs – and as we enter this new year, we are faced with the greatest threat to humanity in climate change.

“The SNP has pledged to plant 36 million trees in Scotland by 2030 and the Scottish Government has set world-leading climate change targets in the world but these figures show the good work that has already been done in tackling the climate emergency.

“In 2020, COP26 UN Climate Summit will take place in Glasgow. This is a chance for Scotland to be at the forefront of the global effort to tackle climate change.

“We must use that platform to push our international allies to adopt the same radical approach championed by the SNP in Scotland.”

18 December 2019

Stevenson Warns Scotland's Fisheries Set for Tory Sell-Out

Stewart Stevenson MSP has warned that the vital fisheries sector is set for a Tory Brexit sell-out, after a number of EU states made clear that fishing quotas and access to waters must be on the table and up for negotiation before any final deal can be reached.

Despite pledging a "sea of opportunity" for Scotland’s fishing communities, the MSP has warned that the Tories are instead “serving the fishing industry up as bait.”

Following a meeting with EU ministers, Denmark’s fisheries minister said access to UK waters “should be a part of it (UK-EU trade deal)… and also the signals we get from the Commission is that they see it like that as well.”

Yesterday, the Spanish minister stated that

“Progress can only be made on the trade deal if in parallel we have advanced on the fisheries agreement, which is very important.”

“For Spain, this is a fundamental question.”

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

“In the first week of the new Parliament, the Tories are already lining up a sell-out of Scotland’s vital fisheries sector for their own narrow party interests.

“Rather than following through on their pledge of a 'sea of opportunity', the Tories are instead serving the fishing industry up as bait.

“The remarks from both Denmark and Spain make clear that access to Scottish waters and fishing quotas must be on the table for negotiation before any Brexit trade deal can be agreed.

“And with the Tory government planning to make it illegal for Parliament to extend the transition period beyond the end of next year – ramping up the risk of a No-Deal exit – it’s clear that the Tories cannot be trusted to stand up for our crucial fishing and agriculture sectors.”

MSP Urges People To Stay Safe This Christmas

Stewart Stevenson MSP is urging constituents to stay safe this Christmas as more than 500 accidental house fires were recorded across Scotland during last year’s festive season, according to the latest statistics revealed by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The festive period is traditionally one of the busiest times of year for the fire service across Scotland– with the increase in accidental house fires during the period typically caused by a higher use of heating and electrical appliances - as well as higher alcohol consumption, decorations and the traditional use of candles also playing a role.

Christmas is meant to be full of joy and celebration, but it can also be a time when there’s an increased risk of an electrical fire and with electricity causing three quarters of fires in Scottish homes.

Guidance has been published for those responsible for electrical safety by Electrical Safety First.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“Christmas is a time of twinkling lights, full glasses and Christmas cheer, but we can all forget some of the safety fundamentals and it’s no time to become complacent.

“While I want people to be able to celebrate and relax over the festive period, it is extremely important that they also keep themselves and others safe.

“For that reason I’d urge people to follow the advice of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Electrical Safety First and act responsibly.”

Commenting, Wayne Mackay, Deputy Public Affairs Manager at Electrical Safety First, said:

“Our research found that a number of dangerous electrical goods – which present a real risk of fire - are being sold by unregulated ‘third-party’ sellers via online marketplaces such as Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish”, explains

“But many people think they are buying from the platform itself, which they consider reputable. For example, we found that 44% of people we surveyed didn’t know the difference between Amazon and Amazon Marketplace – and it’s the latter where we are more likely to purchase from a third-party vendor.

“So we have created an app for Google Chrome – Check it Out – which we hope will provide some clarity to this, by alerting people when they are buying from a third-party seller.”

To help the whole family to have a safe and happy festive season, visit:,

16 December 2019

MSP Welcomes Rise in Number of Aberdeenshire Teachers

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the rise in primary school teacher numbers which are at their highest level since 1980.

New statistics have shown that over 100 additional teachers have been added to Aberdeenshire classrooms since 2013.

The overall number of teachers across Scotland also rose to 52,247, an increase of 1,530 since 2015 and the highest level since 2009.

Separate figures show the proportion of primary pupils assessed as achieving the expected levels in listening and talking, reading, writing, and numeracy has continued to improve.

Performance among S3 pupils has remained stable, with almost nine out of 10 achieving the expected levels in listening and talking, reading, writing and numeracy.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“These latest statistics demonstrate that education in Scotland is moving in the right direction with the number of teachers in our classrooms rising.

“I am delighted to see this increase locally in Aberdeenshire with levels at their highest in a decade and the number of primary teachers being the highest since 1980.

“Since 2006 there are now fewer P1-P3 pupils in large classes of 31 or more, which is particularly important as helping children in the early years is crucial if we are to close the attainment gap between the most and least deprived.”

11 December 2019

MSP Supports Foster and Adoption Campaign this Christmas

Stewart Stevenson MSP has added his support to Home for Good’s campaign this Christmas as they urge more individuals to consider fostering and adoption.

During the Twelve Days of Christmas, around 130 children will enter the care system in Scotland. There is currently a shortage of around 580 foster families needed over the next year to provide a loving home for children and young people.

Home for Good is a national charity seeking to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children by finding loving homes for children in the care system.

Mr Stevenson has added his support to their campaign Christmas tree calling on more individuals to play their part in caring for vulnerable children.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Especially as we approach Christmas, I think it is vital that we consider what more can be done to ensure that every child and young person across Scotland finds the loving, safe home that they need.

“We urgently need more foster carers to step up and support some of the most vulnerable youngsters in the North-east.

“It was great to hear about Home for Good and the work they are doing in Scotland and beyond, equipping churches to foster and adopt, as well as positively engaging with those in the care system.”

9 December 2019

Labour and Tories Risking £6.8 Million in Council Funding

North-east MSPs Stewart Stevenson and Gillian Martin have condemned opposition parties after figures laid bare the cost Aberdeenshire council could be faced with under plans backed by Tory, Labour and Green MSPs.

Tory and Labour MSPs voted for an Andy Wightman amendment to the Non-Domestic Rates Bill that would remove the ability of Scottish Ministers to set the business rates nationally.

Under the current system, the Scottish Government guarantees the total level of income to councils by filling the gap in funding if business rates receipts are lower than forecast.

If the plans backed by the Tories and Labour had been in place, Aberdeenshire council would have faced a shortfall of £6.8 million over the past two years.

During this period, 24 councils have benefited from Scottish Government funding protection – including Aberdeenshire council.

Amendment 9, lodged by Andy Wightman, sets out to devolve powers to set business rates to councils. The effect is that rates would no longer be set nationally and business rates reliefs – including the Small Business Bonus and rates relief for nurseries – would automatically end.

North-east MSPs Gillian Martin and Stewart Stevenson have criticised the plans, saying that Local Governments and businesses benefit from the certainty that a national framework for NDR provides.

Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“Under these reckless plans council finances would be exposed to the risk of economic shock.

“If these plans had been in effect over the last two years, Aberdeenshire council would have faced a shortfall of £6.8million.

“The Tories and Labour must listen to the concerns of industry and urgently backtrack on their support for these proposals.

“The last thing businesses in Aberdeenshire need is more chaos and uncertainty. It has become clear that the SNP is the only party standing up for Scotland’s businesses.”

Gillian Martin MSP for Aberdeenshire East said:

“Shamefully the Tories, despite their bluster on Business Rates for over two years, have voted to axe more than £6.8million of Non-Domestic Rates relief to Aberdeenshire council in a move that would have devastating consequences locally.

“The Scottish Government covers local authorities when revenues from NDR are lower than what was forecast.

“Over the last two years, Aberdeenshire has benefited enormously as a result of SNP representatives advocating for Transitional Reliefs to ease the effects of a low oil price. Businesses in the North-east now face even more uncertainty imposed by the Tories in their reckless decision making.”

6 December 2019

MSP Welcomes International Arts Festival to Showcase Peterhead

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the international spotlight on a North-east fishing community during a coveted arts festival being held on the Winter Solstice.

Peterhead has been selected as one of only seven locations in four countries to play a part in the 2019 Solstice Shorts Festival of live new stories, poems and songs on the shortest day of the year on Saturday, December 21 under the theme ‘Time and Tide’.

The festival, now in its sixth year, will also be showcased in Clydebank, Holyhead in Wales, Maryport, Greenwich and Hastings in England and the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Live-streaming of all six events will enable a global audience to enjoy the performances, with a video and book capturing the events scheduled for the Spring.

‘Time and Tide’ will focus on stories and poems about communities that make a living from or beside the water, but also about the forging of new lives across the seas to highlight the history of immigration, emigration and diaspora.

Peterhead was chosen for inclusion in this project for its rich maritime heritage and will see the return of Intuitive Music Aberdeen to the town to present an event at the Symposium Coffee House in the Scottish Maritime Academy in collaboration with Artventure.

Poems and stories were submitted to the project from writers around the world, with those chosen for the Peterhead event including pieces by local writers from Buchan, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen, as well as from far further afield.

The music for the North-east event will again be provided by Buchan-based composer Haworth Hodgkinson and local actors and musicians are already in rehearsals.

The Peterhead event brings together a wide range of partners at local, regional, national and international level including Peterhead Arts and Culture network, Artventure, British Sign Language, Maritime Academy & Coffee Symposium, Arts Council England, Arachne Press London and Intuitive Music Aberdeen.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP commented:

“Time and Tide is an ambitious project which fits with the overall aim of ‘Creative Peterhead’ as this is an opportunity to contribute towards transformational change through the mechanisms of arts and culture and collective creativity.

“The event will help promote Peterhead as a distinctive, compassionate, and outward-looking community and hopefully stimulate the community towards taking greater pride of place and sense of confidence in the town and its people.”

For more information and to live-stream the event visit or log onto

5 December 2019

MSP Says "Shop Local" This Small Business Saturday

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed figures highlighted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), ahead of Small Business Saturday, showing that the number of businesses in the North-east is rising.
In Aberdeenshire and Moray in 2019, there was a total of 17,830 businesses - representing a turnover of £20,508m. This is an increase of 140 businesses since last year.

The Businesses in Scotland 2019 report shows that Scotland has more registered businesses per head of population now than at any point over the last ten years

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said:

“This Small Business Saturday we want to see Scottish high streets bustling with people choosing to spend their money with independent businesses. It doesn’t matter if you meet a pal for a coffee, pick up a Christmas present for a loved one, or get your cupboards stocked for the week ahead.”

Mr Stevenson is urging Banffshire and Buchan residents to get behind Small Business Saturday – which takes place this weekend.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Small Business Saturday is a fantastic initiative that encourages shoppers to help independent businesses, shop local and support your community.

“Banffshire and Buchan Coast is booming and Scotland is fast becoming one of the best places in the world to do business.

“Despite the challenges we have faced from Westminster budget cuts, this SNP in Government is supporting small businesses in Scotland to flourish – offering the most generous package of business rates reliefs anywhere in the UK

“However, just this month, Labour and Tory MSPs voted to back plans to set business rates locally rather than nationally – risking vital reliefs, such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme, that our small businesses rely on. These are very real threats to the health of Scotland’s economy and commerce.

“That is why Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands. Only a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit, lock out the Tories and allow Scotland’s businesses to prosper.”

3 December 2019

MSP Praises Fraserburgh Film Student

Banffshire and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised Andrew Davidson a Fraserburgh student who created a film archive of the town.

Mr Davidson is currently studying a Masters Degree in Library and Information Studies at Robert Gordon University. The student sourced, researched and digitised film footage of the life, work and events of Fraserburgh, which is now available online.

Now, the North-east MSP has tabled a parliamentary motion commending Andrew’s work that provides a record of the cultural heritage of Fraserburgh.

Professor Peter Reid at Robert Gordon University has described the project as the “best film archive that any town in Scotland has” after unearthing mounds of historic footage of Fraserburgh.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I would like to congratulate Andrew for all of his hard work in getting this archive up and running.

“Reflecting on the rich history of the North-east is so important and I am sure these videos will be an asset not only to our town but to Scotland more broadly.

“This archive ensures the legacy of Fraserburgh is accessible and can be passed on to future generations.”

For access to the full archive please visit:

2 December 2019

MSP Welcomes Protection from Tory Bedroom Tax

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s intervention protecting over 2,000 residents in Aberdeenshire and Moray from Tory welfare cuts.

New figures show that 1,195 Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) were made to those on low incomes in Aberdeenshire and 940 residents received awards in Moray between April and September this year.

The total award value spent in both local authorities during this period was £1,407,174.

The Scottish Government’s DHP scheme is an extra payment to help with housing costs, including cuts to the local housing allowance and covering in full the impact of the bedroom tax.

Commenting Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is unforgivable that the Conservatives chose to target those on the lowest incomes by introducing the bedroom tax.

“The Scottish Government now spends millions every year to protect Scots from UK Government welfare policy. Locally we have supported over 2,000 families, but it should not be down to our devolved government to mitigate the decisions of the Tories.

“Social security should be about compassion and dignity but instead, the Tories have shamelessly presided over a callous and calculated dismantling of the welfare system.”

28 November 2019

Stewart Stevenson MSP Calls for End to Eyewatering Delivery Fees

Stewart Stevenson MSP has called for an end to eyewatering delivery fees as over £2million was paid by his constituents as result of delivery surcharges.

New figures published ahead of Black Friday, have laid bare the annual cost of rip-off delivery charges for shoppers across rural Scotland.

The figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), found that consumers in Banffshire and Buchan Coast were left footing a £2,035,00 million bill this year alone in additional delivery fees.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the total figure paid by Scots shoppers has now reached £40.1 million relative to the rest of the UK.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Westminster has the powers to put an end to rip-off parcel delivery surcharges for Scots – but for too long now successive UK governments have sat on their hands and done nothing.

“It is completely unjust that shoppers in the North-east are expected to fork out huge sums of money each year on these surcharges.

“Delivery surcharges continue to hit the pockets of families across Scotland- it’s time for the next UK government to take some real concrete action and get a grip of these sky-high surcharge fees."

27 November 2019

MSPs Call for an End to Gender-Based Violence

Stewart Stevenson MSP joined with his male colleagues in parliament this week to stand against the gender-based violence of women and girls.
This comes during the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign which is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, and others, have put the spotlight on the issue of sexual violence and have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced or ignored anymore.

The theme this year is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“I was delighted to add my support as an ally to women who have experienced gender-based violence.

“Still too many women across the world are victims of unthinkable crimes such as female genital mutilation, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“People from all walks of life can learn more and take a stand against gender-based violence.”

20 November 2019

MSP Congratulates Tech Savvy Charity

Stewart Stevenson MSP has congratulated Abilitynet for twenty years of helping older people and people with disabilities to get the most from their technology.

Abilitynet are a national charity supported by IBM and Microsoft which offers a free helpline for advice and information.

Abilitynet also have a national network of over 350 vetted Abilitynet ITCanHelp volunteers who visit clients in their own homes and in hospital offering them support with their technology free of charge.

Mr Stevenson has tabled a parliamentary motion commending their work and recognising the charity for the support they offer some of the most vulnerable in his constituency.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP said:

“I congratulate Abilitynet for their positive work over the last twenty years assisting some of the most vulnerable people to make full use of the internet.

“This is a charity committed to reducing social isolation and loneliness by helping to promote positive engagement with the internet.

“They ensure individuals have access to vital online services that so many of us take for granted such as online banking, postal services and assisting those with mobility issues to shop online.”

If you would benefit from this service or for more information please visit

MSP Supports the Scottish Youth Parliament's Childhood Adversity Campaign

Stewart Stevenson MSP visited the Scottish Youth Parliament last week, adding his support to their campaign tackling childhood adversity.
Stewart Stevenson MSP with Rachel Ashenden
Communications Officer at the Scottish Youth Parliament

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have developed a resource for MSYPs which aims to spread awareness of childhood adversity, calling for stronger rights to act as a shield for children and young people.

The MSP added his support on UNICEF’s World Children's Day (20th November) an annual day of action for children, by children.

This year marks 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – 30 years of child rights that have helped transform children's lives around the world.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“I’m so impressed by the determination of MSYPs to have a real impact on Scotland’s political landscape and raise awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences.

“The Scottish Youth Parliament is a fantastic example of young people exercising their right to be at the heart of decisions which affect them.

“I hope that on the 30th anniversary year of the UNCRC even more, young people will be encouraged to make their voices heard.”

19 November 2019

Scotland Must Have Seat at Top Table for Fisheries Negotiations

Scotland must have a seat at the top table for crucial fisheries negotiations next month – by sending Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary to lead the UK delegation.

The talks will take place just days after the UK Election, raising the risk of a hung parliament leading to no functioning government or an inexperienced minister being sent to the talks.

Scotland makes up by far the largest part of the UK fishing industry and has world renowned expertise on fisheries. At EU Fisheries Councils, Flanders – which accounts for the overwhelming majority of Belgian fisheries products – leads the Belgian negotiating team as of right.

Speaking ahead of a the annual Holyrood debate on the end of year fisheries negotiations, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Scotland’s fishing industry needs an experienced and capable voice at these talks. The science is challenging and this is the last time for at least a year that Scotland and the UK is going to have a voice in EU talks on fisheries. So this isn’t the time to send someone with limited or no experience.

“We also know that the Tories have form when it comes to selling out Scotland’s fishing interests and it looks like they are gearing up to do so again.

“The UK government has already made clear that access to Scottish waters will be on the table in future trade talks with the EU, before these crucial annual EU negotiations take place.

“And any new trade barriers to Scottish seafood exports after Brexit will have a hugely damaging effect on the competitiveness of our industry.

“Scotland’s fishing industry needs a seat at the top table for these negotiations. We need a champion in the room fighting solely for Scottish interests. That’s why our Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing should lead these negotiations on behalf of the UK.”

13 November 2019

Parliamentary Praise for Local Businesses Following Floods

Stewart Stevenson MSP has been joined by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, in praising local businesses in the King Edward area following their response to recent severe flooding.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP tabled a parliamentary motion and lodged a question to congratulate Benzies, Volker Infrastructure and other businesses in the area for their co-ordinated effort to ensure that business disruption was kept to a minimum during emergency floods.

In the immediate days after the floods local businesses helped Aberdeenshire Council to implement a one way system to ensure that lower category roads could be used to keep commercial traffic moving.

The Scottish Government have now activated the Bellwin Scheme in Aberdeenshire Council which reimburses local authorities for the costs of emergency aid.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“The community spirit shown by local businesses after recent flooding was a testament to the people of the North-east.

“I’d like to personally thank all of those who were involved in responding quickly and were pro-active in ensuring that business could resume as quickly as possible.

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s activation of the Bellwin Scheme which reimburses local authorities for costs incurred to safeguard life and property following an emergency in their area.”

11 November 2019

Net-Zero Fund to Invest in Low Carbon Future

£1 Billion to Invest in North-East Economies

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed calls for future oil and gas tax revenues to be ring fenced in a Net Zero Fund to boost the transition to a net zero economy. SNP MPs have argued that at least £1 billion of those revenues should be dedicated to helping provide jobs and investment for areas, such as the North-east of Scotland, where the local economy has been driven by oil and gas production.

With clear commitments from the Scottish Government to move to net zero climate emissions by 2045 and a challenge to UK parties to match that ambition, investing the tax revenues from oil and gas in low carbon energy, transport, infrastructure and jobs, could form a major part of the transition to a zero carbon society – as we move away from reliance on oil and gas.

The Office for Budget Responsibility projects that over the next five years oil and gas revenues will be worth £8.5 billion – all of which should be ring fenced to support long term investments in tackling the climate crisis.

The SNP have argued that at least £1 billion of the fund should be set aside to support a just transition for areas like the North-east where the oil and gas industry is a major employer.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“We must do everything in our power to tackle the climate crisis and Scotland has set the most ambitious legal targets in the world.

“But we also have to ensure that areas like the North-east of Scotland, where the economy has been built on the oil and gas industry, are supported to make the transition to new low or no carbon industries.

“The North-east is already playing a major part in Scotland’s renewables revolution, by ring-fencing the current tax revenues from oil and gas in a Net-Zero Fund and investing in a just transition we can deliver real benefits to these communities and to our environment.

“The SNP has long argued that revenues from oil and gas should be invested for the long term, rather than fund day to day spending. Westminster failed to set up an oil fund, where Norway’s is now worth $1 trillion and is investing hugely in the low carbon economy. We should seize the opportunity to ensure we do not waste future revenues in the same way.

“We need to take urgent action to diversify our transport and energy sources, and to speed that up, tax revenues from oil and gas should be invested directly in the transition.”

8 November 2019

Parliamentary Recognition for Peterhead Director's Scottish BAFTA

Peterhead film director Jon S Baird has had his achievement winning a BAFTA Scotland award recognised in the Scottish Parliament.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has tabled a Motion congratulating the director on the Director-Fiction award he won at the Scottish BAFTAs earlier this week.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I was delighted to see Jon had been awarded a Scottish BAFTA for his film ‘Stan and Ollie’, which has been a tremendous success, receiving very positive reviews and was highly-praised by critics.

“Jon himself has been great at encouraging young people into the creative industries, providing advice to students at Peterhead Academy. With a cinema soon to open in Peterhead, this award really has special significance for the town.

“With Jon’s local connections, his support of the academy, and also the sterling work done by the volunteer group at Peterhead Community Centre in bringing a cinema experience to the town on a regular basis, I’m certain the new cinema will be a success and assist in the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.”

6 November 2019

MSP Welcomes New Action Plan to Boost Banffshire and Buchan Coast

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s new action plan to kick-start developments in rural areas.

The need for planning permission could be removed for certain types of rural developments to help tackle depopulation and support the North-east economy.

The changes are being considered as part of a new action plan to implement a radical shake-up of planning laws.

Under this review, small scale developments, such as the conversion of agricultural buildings to deliver more homes in Banffshire and Buchan Coast, could automatically be given the go-ahead.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I welcome this new action plan and think these proposed changes would be transformational for Banffshire and Buchan Coast.

“A top priority for me has always been to support and boost the local economy and help local families get the homes that they need- these new proposals seek to do exactly that.

“Locally there is still so much untapped potential and this action plan aims to help grow Scotland’s rural areas.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Scotland’s farmers, promoting sustainable growth and safeguarding the long term prosperity of Scotland’s rural communities.”

4 November 2019

MSPs Welcome £4.5 Million Boost to North-East Rail

North-east MSPs have welcomed an extra £4.5m investment from Network Rail to boost performance in the North-east and Highlands.

The plan will see extra money spent on the Aberdeen-Inverness line targeting specific projects to help prevent infrastructure faults, or reduce the time it takes to fix faults when they do occur.

In the North-east, this December will also see the completion of the £330m Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project which will cut journey times and increase service levels. This will include an increase in services that call at Inverurie each weekday from 45 to 76, with a similar improvement on Saturdays.

Network Rail will also deliver up to three trains per hour from Aberdeen-Inverness and two additional morning peak trains into Aberdeen. An additional evening peak train out of Aberdeen will also be added, along with an improved cross-city service, with 27 trains per day between Inverurie, Dyce, Stonehaven and Montrose. A direct morning peak service from Montrose to Dyce and Inverurie will also be part of the improvements.

Gillian Martin MSP said:

“Access to greener forms of transport are an important step to tackling the climate crisis- and this new investment can make a real difference.

“Having spent some time campaigning for investments in North-east rail services this a welcome improvement to the current services.

“However I very much wish to see even more being invested in our rail infrastructure and will continue to call for the re-opening of the Dyce- Ellon line.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This additional investment in rail will bring a vast improvement to rail in the North-east which I regularly use along with many other constituents.

“Cutting journey times and increasing service levels are a top priority for customers and so I applaud Network Rail for the steps they have taken to address these issues.

“Rail improvements in the North-east are invaluable and I am particularly pleased the investment will mean more trains available for commuters and at weekends.”

31 October 2019

MSP Saddles up in Support of Annual Poppy Ride Contest at the Scottish Parliament

Stewart Stevenson MSP has taken part in the charity event, organised by Poppyscotland which sees politicians compete on an exercise bike to see who can cover the greatest distance.
Mr Stevenson cycled 2.88 km in just four minutes in a bid to raise awareness of this year’s Poppy Appeal.

The Scottish Poppy Appeal is Scotland’s largest annual street collection and helps to raise millions of pounds each year which Poppyscotland uses to support the country’s Armed Forces community.

This week, more than five million poppies and 60,000 collecting tins have been distributed around Scotland as the public is encouraged to wear a poppy with pride.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I am proud to lend my support to this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal and to do my little bit to encourage us all to contribute to Poppyscotland as they continue their ongoing work to support the Armed Forces community throughout Scotland.

“The launch of the Scottish Poppy Appeal is a very important date in the calendar of Remembrance and I will certainly be putting on my poppy with pride to remember all of those who selflessly served our country, both past and present.

“It really does feel like a time when the country comes together to support a common cause – and we need that more than ever in these chaotic times.”

Poppyscotland Chief Executive Mark Bibbey said:

“We congratulate Stewart and all his parliamentary colleagues who showed what good sports they were by taking part in the 2019 Poppy Ride.

“While there were lots of laughs and banter along the way, it was important opportunity for Poppyscotland to highlight the issues facing the Armed Forces community and remind our politicians why the Scottish Poppy Appeal continues to be so vitally important in raising funds to support them.”

29 October 2019

'Do It Now' says Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP

The constituency MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast has urged constituents to register their electrical items as part of Electrical Safety First’s new ‘Do It Now’ campaign.
Around three quarters of fires in Scottish homes are caused by electricity – with most linked to electrical appliances.

If consumers’ electrical items are registered, it means they can be contacted much more easily if a product they have bought has been recalled for safety reasons.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is obviously very useful to register your electrical items – and to read Electrical Safety First’s guide.

“The process will only take a few minutes but it truly could save your life and others’ lives.

“I am helping to raise awareness about this because of how vitally important it is.”

Wayne Mackay, deputy public affairs manager at Electrical Safety First, added:

“Registering your product is essential in helping manufacturers to contact you rapidly if there is a known problem, or a recall of a product.

“Many electrical products are recalled because they can lead to fire or electric shock – presenting a serious threat to life and property.

“And with the low (roughly 20 per cent) success rate of recalls, there could potentially be thousands of recalled items still in Scottish homes.”

Since 2007, 559 recall notices have been issued for electrical products, yet Electrical Safety First’s research found that only 21 per cent of Scots always register their electrical goods.

The guide is also supported by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS).

David Dourley, SFRS head of fire investigation, said:

“We are regularly involved in fires, some of them fatal, which have been caused by faulty electrical appliances.

“So we’re urging people to protect themselves from these risks by always registering their products.”

MSP Welcomes Victory on "Historic Injustice" for Scotland's Farmers

CAP Funding Returned after Years of UK Government Delay

Stewart Stevenson MSP has today welcomed news that North-east farmers and crofters will benefit from the first instalment of convergence funding – addressing an “historic injustice” which the Scottish Government has long campaigned for.

The funding is the first tranche of an £160 million package the UK government has finally returned to Scottish farmers after pocketing EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding intended for Scotland since 2014.

The initial £80 million will be distributed to support active farming, with a focus on those who farm in marginal uplands, hill farms and island areas.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This is money that was hard fought for over many years, and I am delighted for farmers in the North-east that the £160 million of convergence money that the UK government tried to appropriate from Scotland has been returned.

“Scottish farmers have been short-changed by the UK government for years, and the SNP has argued long and hard for that injustice to be addressed.

“This funding will play a vital role in helping us meet our agricultural commitments, and will make a crucial difference to the future viability of Scotland’s farming industry.

“However, Brexit is by far the biggest threat to Scotland’s farming and crofting communities, but this funding will help to provide some security to North-east farmers during these uncertain times.

“With future arrangements for agriculture still unclear amidst the turmoil around Brexit, it is absolutely vital that North-east agriculture benefits from the EU support to which the sector is entitled, while it still can.

“We now need real commitments over future funding, and an end to the attempted power grab over farming powers that should rightfully be at the Scottish Parliament.”

28 October 2019

MSP Pledges to Stand up for Nature

Stewart Stevenson MSP has added his pledge to Scottish Environment LINK’s campaign ‘Fight for Scotland’s Nature’.
The campaign has seen 37 environmental charities from across Scotland coming together to ‘Fight for Scotland’s Nature’ and gather support for a Scottish Environment Act.

The North-east MSP added his support following growing uncertainty of the threat Brexit has to current EU environmental protections that enhance Scotland’s nature.

At a time when 1 in 11 species in Scotland are at risk of extinction, environmental charities are calling for a Scottish Environment Act to set clear ambitions for Scotland’s own environmental policy and set a clear trajectory towards a more sustainable future, particularly in the approach to 2020, a year critical for the culmination of global efforts to halt biodiversity loss.

“The joint emergencies of rapid biodiversity loss and climate breakdown require transformative action. As a member of the Scottish Parliament, I have added my pledge to stand up for nature.

“I will do everything in my power to ensure Scotland’s natural environment has strong and effective protection, alongside ambitious targets for its recovery and enhancement.

“When 1 in 11 species in Scotland is at risk of extinction, these measures are vital, whatever our future relationship with the European Union.”

25 October 2019

Stewart Stevenson MSP Welcomes New Funding for Care Experienced Young People

Stewart Stevenson has welcomed news that care experienced young people in Aberdeenshire will benefit from £328,800 of funding.

The Scottish Government announced today (Friday) that the Care Experienced Children and Young People fund would increase from £8 million to £12 million in this academic year.

The fund is designed to support the educational attainment of young people, up to the age of 26, who have been in care, with projects as diverse as mentoring programmes, counselling services and driving lessons were supported.

Commenting, Banffshire and Buchan MSP, Stewart Stevenson said:

"Improving the education and life chances of all our children and young people is the defining mission of the SNP in government.

"Young people living in, or leaving, the care system often face additional barriers to learning - which is why this funding can be so vital.

"I'm delighted that care experienced young people in Aberdeenshire will benefit from £328,800 of targeted funding this year, with a substantial increase in funding across Scotland."

22 October 2019

MSP takes a trip down Guide Dogs’ Memory Lane

Stewart Stevenson MSP recently met with the charity Guide Dogs Scotland to discuss the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face when walking the streets, including pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.
Pavements blocked by parked cars or street clutter such as wheelie bins and overhanging branches can force pedestrians to walk onto the road, putting them in danger of oncoming traffic.

Shared space streets, where vital safety features such as kerbs and controlled crossings are removed, can also be dangerous and disorientating for people with sight loss.

To illustrate these risks, Guide Dogs asked Stewart Stevenson MSP to take a trip down memory lane and play their ‘Navigation Game’ – a take on the classic final challenge of the Generation Game – memorising the hazards that a guide dog owner might encounter on a typical journey.

Guide Dogs are calling for action on the most common dangers for people with sight loss, including a new law limiting pavement parking to areas determined by the local council, action from local authorities on street clutter and a safety review of existing shared space schemes.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“I applaud the work of Guide Dogs Scotland- through their work guide dogs transform lives for individuals who are registered blind or have partially lost their sight.

“On street parking and blocked pavements can add to the complexities and challenges facing blind or partially-sighted individuals and so I was delighted to meet with Guide Dogs and discuss their new campaign.”

Niall Foley, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented:

“The street environment has a huge impact on people with sight loss. When a street is blocked with obstacles or lacks vital safety features, it can make the difference between getting out and about with confidence or feeling forced to stay at home.

“We’re calling for action to tackle the most common hazards that affect blind and partially sighted people on their local streets: pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.”

21 October 2019

MSP’s Welcome £460 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Rollout

North-east MSPs Gillian Martin and Stewart Stevenson have welcomed a £460 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

The rollout will enable more households and businesses across Aberdeenshire to upgrade to faster fibre broadband. Across Scotland, thanks to the programme, more than 940,000 premises will now be able to connect to the new network. The programme has brought fibre broadband to Cornhill, Lumphanan, New Pitsligo and Strathdon, with more fibre also now live in several communities including Alford, Ellon, North Water Bridge and Forgue.

Some of the latest premises to be reached – in places like Glenkindie and New Deer – are connected to a full fibre network. Also known as Fibre-to-the-Premises or FTTP, the technology provides ultrafast broadband directly into local homes. They are among more than 117,000 homes and businesses across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which are now able to connect to the Digital Scotland network as engineers from Openreach continue work on the ground during 2019/20.

Across the country more than 5,000 new fibre street cabinets are now live – offering broadband services at speeds up to 80Mbps – and more than 13,700km of cable has been laid, equal to the length of around 25 per cent of all the roads in Scotland.

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable connections at a range of speeds and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. Local people can check if the new fibre services are available to them at

Gillian Martin MSP, said:

"More and more people are now able to sign up to fibre broadband thanks to the £460 million Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, and it is particularly pleasing to see this in rural areas and rural market towns such as New Deer.

"The difference that having fibre broadband can make to businesses or to improving the range of services available in the home is amazing. I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the faster speeds now available.”

Research has suggested that every £1 in public investment in fibre broadband in Scotland is delivering almost £12 of benefits to the Scottish economy. The independent report commissioned by DSSB and undertaken by consultants Analysas Mason estimates the total benefit from investment as £2.76 billion over 15 years.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"The Digital Scotland rollout is reaching new communities across the North-east and bringing better broadband to rural residents, families and businesses.

“Better connectivity right across Scotland means digital progress on every level – from pupils doing homework and communities tapping in to the tourist trade online to virtual assistants helping vulnerable people to live more independent lives.”

Thanks to additional investment as a result of innovation and new funding generated by stronger than expected take-up, the rollout will continue in every local authority area during 2019 and into 2020, complementing ongoing commercial build across Scotland. More than 50 per cent of properties reached by the programme have switched to fibre broadband.

11 October 2019

Stewart Stevenson MSP Renews Calls to Restore TV Licences to Over 75s

A new report published today by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has criticised the UK government for seeking to "bounce" the BBC into accepting a deal that exposed it to "administering welfare benefits," and calls for free TV licences to be restored to over 75s who don’t receive Pension Credit.

North-east MSP Stewart Stevenson has slammed the Tories for their handling of the 2015 negotiations that led to the BBC making decisions regarding welfare payments – ultimately leading to free TV licences for over 75s being scrapped - and has renewed calls for them to be restored after campaigning consistently for them to be saved.

The report finds that the 2015 "flawed" funding negotiations gave no opportunity for consultation with licence fee-payers, that the BBC put itself in the "invidious" position as administrator of welfare benefits, and criticises the 2015 UK government for seeking to ‘bounce’ the BBC into accepting the measures.

The DCMS Committee has recommended that the UK government and BBC work together to find a funding formula to restore free TV licences for over 75s.

Commenting Banffshire and Buchan MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“It is downright shameful of the Tories to pass the responsibility of administering much-needed welfare benefits, such as free TV licences, on to a public broadcaster, and this report rightly lays that bare.

“The report was also right to point out the complete lack of transparency surrounding the negotiations and that the BBC cannot be absolved of responsibility. I hope Lord Hall has learned his lesson – don’t do secretive back-stair deals with people you can’t trust.

“The way they handled – or mishandled - the 2015 funding negotiations by not consulting licence fee payers and allowing false reassurances to be made to over 75s is further proof that this Tory government is uncaring and incompetent when it comes to looking after our older generation.

“The SNP warned of the danger of transferring this decision to the BBC. The UK government should now atone for their mistake and work with the BBC to find a funding formula to restore free TV licences for over 75s – we will not let them off the hook over this broken manifesto commitment.”

8 October 2019

MSPs Welcome £10 billion Investment in the North-east

Aberdeenshire MSPs Gillian Martin and Stewart Stevenson have welcomed £10.1 billion of public and private investment in infrastructure projects due to be delivered in the North-east before 2030 following the Investment Tracker published today.
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s investment update, shows committed future investment in the region has risen by £1.7 billion over the past 12 months.

This comes on top of £800 million worth of projects being completed since the 2018 Tracker was published, including Aberdeen Art Gallery, the Music Hall, Banchory Sports Village and the region’s new world-class events complex P&J Live.

Much of the investment in the document comes from Scottish Government funding which is scheduled for the next three years and includes projects involving transport & infrastructure, office & retail and leisure & culture, as well as health, sport & education.

Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, commented:

“Digital connectivity is absolutely critical to opening up the huge economic potential of the North East.

"While this is an issue reserved to Westminster, I am delighted that the SNP has taken the initiative and committed £77 million to make sure everyone in Aberdeenshire has access to superfast broadband by 2021.”

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“The Tracker tells a story of great progress for our regional economy with £2.5bn of infrastructure projects delivered since 2017 and more to come.

“The North-east’s bold investment programmes are creating an energised, connected and revitalised region, one that offers an unparalleled experience for residents and visitors alike.”

MSP welcomes financial discipline reimbursement for farmers

Stewart Stevenson MSP this week welcomed news that Scottish farmers are to receive £5.89 million in reimbursement payments from the European Commission.

Payments under the Financial Discipline Mechanism will begin arriving in bank accounts this week, with the average reimbursement worth around £374 per claimant.

The Financial Discipline Mechanism aims to keep the Pillar 1 budget in balance through the creation of a crisis reserve, which is then released back to farmers the following year, if the reserve is not required.

Welcoming the reimbursement, Mr Stevenson commented:

“I am pleased that around 15,300 Scottish farmers and crofters will receive Financial Discipline Reimbursement payments totalling £5.89 million this week. The repayment varies in relation to the total value of Direct Payment they receive, so not every claimant gets the same amount, but it averages £374.

“With farmers facing the unwelcome prospect of a ‘no deal Brexit’ and the uncertainties this will inevitably bring to their business, it is important that they are aware of the service offered by the likes of RSABI to help them through any hardships they may be facing now or in the future.

“In the meantime, I hope this small injection will be a welcome addition to eligible farmers’ finances.”

7 October 2019

MSP Supports Regulation of Scottish Electrical Trade

Stewart Stevenson MSP with
Alan Wilson, MD of SELECT
MSP Stewart Stevenson has become the latest political brick in the Wall of Support for better regulation of the electrical trade across Scotland.

The representative for Banffshire and Buchan Coast has given his backing to the long-running campaign led by trade association SELECT for the recognition of electricians as a profession.

The Campaign calls for Protection of Title to help ensure that anyone calling themselves an electrician is actually qualified to carry out the work.

It has been estimated that as many as 16% of all domestic electricians operating in Scotland are either unqualified or under-qualified.

“I am delighted to add my support to SELECT’s campaign urging for the regulation of all electricians in Scotland,”

Mr Stevenson said.

“It is important for both safety and professionalism that we ensure anyone calling themselves an electrician holds appropriate qualifications.

“Introducing a title of recognition will create greater trust between consumers and industry and should be standard practice in all types of construction work, be they multi-million-pound contracts or small domestic jobs."

Mr Stevenson’s endorsement comes amid a growing swell of support for the campaign.

As part of its 2019-20 Programme for Government released last month, the Scottish Government has pledged to publish a consultation on the regulation of electricians.

“We would like to thank Mr Stevenson for adding his support to this vital cause,”

said Alan Wilson, Managing Director of SELECT.

“Improving the regulation of electricians will not only better help to protect people’s lives, but also has huge benefits for the wider Scottish economy.

“We are also delighted that the Scottish Government has committed to examining this issue, but continue to urge prompt action – this needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

MSP Encourages Carers To Apply For £1.1million Short Break Funding

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson is encouraging carers to apply for more than £1million of funding available for short breaks projects for children and young people with disabilities.

The Better Breaks programme provides 12-month grants to third sector organisations to develop and deliver short breaks projects for those aged 20 and under and their adult carers or young carers.

The projects can include breaks away, days out and shorter sessions including regular activities.

To be eligible for Better Breaks funding, projects must be able to evidence how their activities will benefit both children and young people with disabilities and their carers, by providing a break from their normal routine.

A total of around £1.1 million is available. Grants are for one year between April 2020 and March 2021.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Carers do an incredibly valuable and demanding role looking after loved ones and those who need support in our North-East community.

“Having access to funding which can provide memories which can last a lifetime is so important.

“I would encourage carers and organisations to apply for funding which can be used for short breaks and days out which could be of real benefit to carers and those they help support.”

6 October 2019

MSP Receives Assurance on Peterhead Courthouse Works

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has been given an assurance from the Scottish Courts Service that works at Peterhead Sheriff Court are on schedule and the scaffolding will be removed by the end of the month.

Local residents have long-complained about the eyesore as scaffolding has covered the building for years while works to repair the roof and cladding have been ongoing.

Now, Chief Executive of the Scottish Courts Service Eric McQueen in a reply to the SNP MSP has advised the works are on schedule to be completed on 17 October with the scaffolding removed by the end of the month.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I’m pleased the end is now in sight for these works and the removal of the scaffolding will take place shortly.

“Local residents have been concerned at the length of time taken for these works, albeit there is an understanding the works are of an essential nature. With a previous deadline for completion of the works having passed, I’m pleased it now looks like completion is imminent and we can see an end to the scaffolding covering one of the Peterhead’s main town centre landmark buildings.”

4 October 2019

MSP Welcomes Small Business Bonus for Thousands of Aberdeenshire Businesses

Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chair, FSB
with Stewart Stevenson MSP
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson recently met with the Federation of Small Businesses to discuss the Scottish Government’s investment in the long term success of towns and high streets across Scotland.

Small businesses in the North-east are a large part of the economy making up 96% of the 14,185 registered businesses in Aberdeenshire Council.

Mr Stevenson took the opportunity to discuss the need to transform towns by delivering a sustainable future for local places and ensure businesses grow locally.

The meeting comes following 7,343 businesses in Aberdeenshire have received the Small Business Bonus in 2018-19.

Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

“I was delighted to meet with officials from FSB to discuss further the investment in businesses in my constituency.

“I welcome the news locally that thousands of small businesses have benefited from the Small Business Bonus.

“I know this bonus will make a huge difference to local small businesses in Aberdeenshire.”

SNP Won't Let Tories Renege on Promise to Scottish Farmers

The SNP has demanded the Prime Minister comes clean on when Scottish farmers can expect the £160 million stolen from them by the UK Government.

Last month, the Tories finally admitted that Scotland's farmers and crofters had been short-changed by the UK Government on CAP convergence funding with Boris Johnson committing to repaying the cash.

With no clarity on when Scotland will receive the funds owed, local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has warned that the UK Government can’t delay on this issue any longer with the threat to Brexit looming over the industry.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“It’s not good enough for Boris Johnson to keep ducking simple questions on when he’ll handover what he owes to Scottish farming.

“The Tories can’t be trusted - this money belongs to Scotland and it’s time for Boris Johnson to cough up.

“The SNP has fought tooth and nail for the Tories to right this historic wrong and we won’t rest until we see the colour of their money.

“But frankly it’s the bare minimum of what our farmers are due – with the uncertainty of Brexit hanging over the agricultural sector, Scottish farmers need more support from the UK government to deal with the fall out of crashing out of the single market.

“We need a cast-iron guarantee that Scottish farmers will see the money they’re due along with real commitments for support going forward.”

Tributes for Local SNP Stalwart Bob Ritchie

Bob Ritchie holding his SNP Life Membership card
Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has paid tribute to long-standing member of the Scottish National Party in Buchan Bob Ritchie whose funeral took place this week.

Peterhead resident Mr Ritchie was a founding member of Fraserburgh Branch SNP and was the Honorary President of Peterhead Branch SNP.

Mr Ritchie was also the Election Agent for the SNP at the 1964 General Election – the first time the Scottish National Party contested a Parliamentary election in Buchan.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“Bob has been a stalwart of the SNP in Buchan for decades and an inspiration to many activists locally over the years.

“Bob holds a place in history as the first-ever SNP Election Agent in this area when the Party decided to contest the old East Aberdeenshire seat at the 1964 election. Bob tells a story that he narrowly avoided being the candidate at that election because he won the toss of a coin and chose to be the agent!

“At that 1964 election, the SNP got 6% of the vote and 1900 votes. It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of people like Bob in those early days that the party was able to put down such solid foundations to build on locally.

“I had the pleasure of presenting Bob with lifetime membership of the party a few years ago and enjoyed his reminisces about past election campaigns. He will be missed by everyone in the SNP and my thoughts are with his wife Beatrice and family at this time.”

3 October 2019

Stevenson: Legitimate Concerns over Car Park Charges Should be Listened to, not Dismissed

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed his disappointment at the response from Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services chairman, Cllr Peter Argyle (Lib Dem: Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside) to calls for a review of free parking spaces in Peterhead.
The free periods were abolished by the Conservative-Lib Dem administration despite costed proposals from SNP councillors which would have seen the car parks breaking even but retaining a half-hour free period.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This is a dismissive and negative response from the Chairman of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, particularly as I commended the council on its efforts through the regeneration partnership, which I know does good work, alongside Rediscover Peterhead.

“Cllr Argyle repeats the manta that 75% of all off-street parking spaces are free of charge, but again ignores the fact that in Peterhead that is simply not the case and the town has a disproportionate share of chargeable spaces. In fact, free spaces in the town’s car parks account for only 36% of the total available.

“I’ve previously asked for a review to take place, which the council has accepted and will happen next year. What I was asking for here was a review of the distribution of free spaces in Peterhead, particularly as most of the free spaces are not convenient for the main shopping areas.

“I don’t believe that is an unreasonable request and will continue to support that, especially now that we have businesses in other Aberdeenshire towns who have had a dramatic drop in footfall and are now offering to cover the cost of customers’ parking fees.

“I also don’t believe anyone has a problem with the council seeking to not make a loss on the running of its car parks but that should not exclude listening to the legitimate worries of businesses and others and taking on board these valid concerns. Cllr Argyle’s approach is disappointing in that regard.”

30 September 2019

Stevenson Comments on Weekend's Flooding

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

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

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

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

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

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

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said:

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

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

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

For more information on Anthony Nolan visit

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

27 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stewart Stevenson commented:

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

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

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

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

MSP Welcomes Further Progress on Delivering Rental Homes Locally

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

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

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

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

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

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

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

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

25 September 2019

MSPs pass landmark Climate Change Bill

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

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

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

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

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP for Aberdeenshire East said:

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

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

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

Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

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

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

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

Local MSP Comments on Rock Challenge Disappointment

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

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

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

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

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

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

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