Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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29 May 2020

Stevenson Welcomes Return of Six-Day Mail Delivery

MSP Thanks Postal Workers for Providing Vital Service

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

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

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

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

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

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

28 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK Government Backtracks on Coronavirus Support for Scotland

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

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

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

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

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

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

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

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

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

26 May 2020

MSP Comments on Douglas Ross Resignation

Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

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

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

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

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

“The Prime Minister must sack Dominic Cummings.”

25 May 2020

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

Mounting Pressure on Tories to Stop Dodging Scrutiny

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

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

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

MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

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

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

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

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

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

21 May 2020

MSP Welcomes Guidance for Farmers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 May 2020

MSP Welcomes Boys Brigade at Home Initiative

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

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

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

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

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

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

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

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

Resource packs are free available at

12 May 2020

Vulnerable MSP Takes Part in First Hybrid Holyrood Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commenting Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 May 2020

Stevenson Calls for Public Support to Crackdown on Local Fly Tipping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 May 2020

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

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

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

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

Commenting, Aberdeenshire East MSP, Gillian Martin said:

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

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

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

Commenting Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

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

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

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

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

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