Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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24 June 2020

Holyrood Backs £11.4 Million for Aberdeenshire to Tackle COVID-19

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed a Holyrood vote approving £11.4 million extra funding for Aberdeenshire Council in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost £258 million extra funding has been approved for vital local services across Scotland, such as food provision for those in need, education and social care.

The Scottish Government is in discussions with local authorities over providing a further £72 million – which will bring the total additional funding to almost £330 million.

This extra funding is on top of the local government finance settlement of £11.4 billion, which already provided an increase of £589.4 million (5.8%) compared to the previous year.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The pandemic has put real pressure on families and local services, and it’s right that the Scottish Government has ensured Aberdeenshire Council has more cash to deal with this.

“This funding boost is supporting access to food, welfare payments and frontline services.

“I also welcome the additional flexibility given to councils in how money is spent, allowing resources to be diverted to the COVID-19 response if required.”

Local MSP Urges Farmers to Complete Agriculture Census

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson is urging farmers to complete the 2020 Agricultural Census before the extended deadline of Friday 31 July.

Farmers can access and complete the form online or request to be contacted by a member of the census team by telephone. Over the coming weeks, some farmers may also be contacted directly to discuss providing data.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This year the survey is voluntary to help ease pressures on farmers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“However, the importance of having access to first-hand information from farmers about their business and the agriculture sector in general is vital to help shape government policy and I would encourage all farmers to take part.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“It is now more important than ever that we have an accurate picture of developments in the agricultural sector so that we can assess the impact of coronavirus and develop the right policies to support our farming communities.

“The Agricultural Census data underpins research work in the agricultural sector and is widely used by industry bodies as evidence of how the industry is performing.

“This year the census is voluntary but I urge every farmer in Scotland to take the time to complete the survey either online or on the telephone.”

Stevenson Welcomes Return to Full-Time Schooling

Commenting on the announcement from the Scottish Government that schools will return full-time in August, without distancing, if Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing the coronavirus – Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Thanks to the united effort of people here in the North-east, and across Scotland, who have stuck to government advice we have now made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19.

“I’m absolutely delighted by this announcement that if we stay on the right path, and continue to suppress this virus, our young people can return to school full time from August.

“This is an important step not only in ensuring our young people get the education they deserve, but it’s also positive news for working families.

“I want to send my gratitude to our dedicated teachers and school staff in Aberdeenshire and Moray who have helped us get to this stage.

"There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but this SNP Scottish Government is working hard to support families and communities across the country.”

10 June 2020

Stewart Stevenson Thanks Thousands of North-East Volunteers During Pandemic

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised the thousands of North-east residents who have signed up to volunteering schemes during the pandemic.

918 have volunteered with the British Red Cross in Aberdeenshire and 401 volunteers in Moray, while 3,453 people across the North-east have signed up to Volunteer Scotland, according to new figures provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

While not all volunteers have been called upon, many have started to deliver food parcels, ensure essential supplies and medicines reach vulnerable people and phone those who need assistance or companionship.

Scotland Cares links British Red Cross and Volunteer Scotland schemes to local authority and third sector activity in communities, creating a pool of volunteers for local organisations to draw upon and deploy as required.

Volunteers are matched with local needs in a range of organisational settings when those needs arise. It is up to the requesting organisation to decide how and when volunteers are deployed.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and many in our communities have depended on the help offered by others.

“The thousands of people in North-east who have volunteered to help are a real credit to their community and I want to thank each and every person who has signed up.

“Not all volunteers have been needed so far, but volunteers will play a critical role in supporting and rebuilding our communities – and many will be asked to help in the weeks and months to come.”

3 June 2020

MSP Welcomes Over £5 Million of Support to Fish Processors

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, who has fishing communities on the east coast of his constituency (including Peterhead and Fraserburgh) has welcomed support for fish processors.

A total of 128 companies have now received support through the Scottish Government’s Seafood Resilience Fund.

The scheme, which was launched in April, has paid out grants of £5.6 million to assist seafood processors impacted by the collapse of international markets and the shutdown of the UK’s food service industry due to COVID-19.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“This support is crucial to ensuring seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis, fish processors are reliant on buoyant markets, which have clearly collapsed with COVID-19.

“It is important we support them through this difficult period so I am please we have been able to help 128 companies through the scheme, and I know that – although times continue to be difficult – these funds have made a difference.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work with our seafood sector to provide targeted support and guidance as we begin to carefully move towards the safe restart of the economy. As we begin to consider how to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it will be important to explore how to build greater resilience and more local opportunities for people in Scotland and the UK to enjoy our fantastic seafood.”

Jimmy Buchan from the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA), said:

“The Scottish Seafood Association is very appreciative of the speed and delivery of the resilience fund for the processing sector. This has saved several businesses from failure. By and large, the COVID-19 shutdown affected most Scottish processors, and without the fast action of the Scottish Government would have led to job losses right across the seafood supply chain. The Scottish Government, along with the Rural Economy Secretary, actively engaged with the SSA during the industry’s most important hour of need. There is still much work to be done, with the SSA actively engaged with all in the supply chain.”

What to Expect if You're Called by an NHS Contact Tracer

Scotland’s approach to implementing the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy, Test and Protect, is now live across the country.

Test and Protect will help us gradually change the restrictions that help to suppress COVID-19 so society can adapt to a new normal.

If you experience any one of the symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days.

As soon as you start showing symptoms you should go to or call 0800 028 2816 to arrange to get tested.

When contacting individuals who have tested positive, contact tracers will ask people to identify others who they’ve been in close contact with and places they’ve been 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms up until the time they’ve self-isolated. This information will then be inputted into contact tracing software and used to identify and contact those identified.

The positive individual will not be named by the contact tracer in line with patient confidentiality unless they agree to have their details disclosed to help the contact tracing process.

Importantly, contact tracers will not ask anyone for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything. The data gathered will be stored securely by NHS Scotland and safely destroyed as soon as possible after the pandemic concludes.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“I understand that people may be worried about the risks of potential phone scams, but the NHS already has a number of protections in place to stop potential fraudsters and ensure all information is kept confidential.

“Contact tracers will introduce themselves, state the reason for their call, and will always identify who they are calling by name. They will not ask for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything.

“The tracers will be supported by software which builds on a tried and trusted platform, allowing teams to identify outbreaks and reduce transmission for high-risk groups here in the North-east.

“Trace and Protect is one way we will tackle this pandemic, but physical distancing and good hand hygiene continues to play a huge role in minimising the spread of infection.”

1 June 2020

Stevenson Pays Tribute to 'Outstanding' Volunteers in the North-East

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has paid tribute to volunteers who have helped the NHS and local communities in the North-east as Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) kicks off.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution and work of millions of volunteers who give up their time to help others.

During this pandemic, volunteers have signed up to help in record numbers through the Scotland Cares initiative – over 53,000 in one month – joining the thousands of people who were already helping, either with one of Scotland’s many voluntary and community sector groups or informally with neighbours.

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP said:

“Volunteers’ Week gives us a chance to celebrate the outstanding contributions of volunteers in the North-east who have offered an immense amount of support to their local areas.

“I know what a huge debt of gratitude we owe to the amazing volunteers working so hard in all of our communities to help us deal with the many consequences of the coronavirus, and it’s more important than ever to show our appreciation.

“I want to celebrate and mark the fantastic work of all our local volunteers who I know have worked tirelessly and have been dedicated to helping the NHS and their local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am sure I speak for everyone in North-east when I say thank you for all you do to ensure everyone gets the help and support they need."

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