24 December 2019

‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all’

I have always been a bit of a Christmas sceptic if truth be told.

I’ve not quite bought into the consumerism, the Santa hats and controversial it may be I don’t even rate a turkey Christmas dinner…

However, if I was in the habit of writing my letter to Santa it would go something like the following: This year I would like an NHS Protection Bill because our health service is the backbone of our society and I want to stop the threat of a Tory-Trump trade deal.

I’d like a Parental Leave Expansion Bill because I believe an additional 12 weeks should be ring-fenced for the father in order to encourage take-up as well as increases in statutory maternity and paternity pay.

I’d also want to see the introduction of an equal living wage to increase the national minimum wage to at least the level of the real Living wage, and to end age discrimination in the legal minimum wage.

I wouldn’t just be asking for new things though, I’d like to see reform with the two-child cap on tax credits and rape clause scrapped from our culture. I’d like to see an end to the benefits freeze and halt the flawed rollout of Universal Credit.

While I jest about Santa, there is a very serious point that I am trying to make about the country we will have next Christmas and for Christmases to come.

As I reflect on the past year I look forward to 2020 encouraged by the work the SNP are doing nationally and proud of what we stand for. We are calling on a boost to the economy, the protection of our public services, tackling poverty, delivering real action on climate change, and respecting Scotland's right to choose our own future.

This stands in stark contrast to the UK Government who wish to "take a wrecking ball" to public services, living standards, and the economy.

I might not believe in Santa, but I’m proud to believe in a party that wants the very best for the North-east. It has been my privilege to serve as your MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast this year.

The message of Christmas I do support is one of hope and that is the special part of Christmas time that I am keen to focus on regardless of political parties.

‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all’ has never gone out of date, unlike cheesy Christmas hits, and it feels particularly important this Christmas time.

So may I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and my best wishes for the New Year. I look forward to continuing to work hard as your voice in parliament over 2020.

3 December 2019

It’s raining leaflets, leaflets .. it must be a wintery election

You are not supposed to agree with this column.

What's the point in reading only things you agree with?

I study our opponent's leaflets and press releases with an avidity I sometimes deny my own political party's publications.

And I encourage you to do the same. Step outside your comfort zone and learn.

But it's the kind of thin gruel that even a starving Oliver Twist would pass on a second helping of. That's this election.

All I can find about the Tories election promises is that they are saying NO to something. And the "word" that follows NO on their posters and leaflets is not even in any dictionary I have ever opened. How can one communicate using a word only political geeks use?

And NO is such an unpleasant word isn't it? It is often one of the first words used by an infant. Often before "daddy" or "mama". But definitely one the proud parent grates their teeth at hearing.

While the infant first deploys a word emphatic - NO - they soon move to a word interrogative - WHY?

So let's. Because normally any party in their tenth year of government would be trumpeting their achievements. Filling their leaflets with the words "better", "new", "more" to draw attention to their time in office. And encouraging you to return to their political "shop" for repeat buys. So WHY are they not?

The window of Tory achievements is far from empty. But it's filled with "achievements" they'd rather you forgot.

Universal Credit started off as a widely supported idea that involved making it simpler for those who needed support from the social security system to get what they need when they needed it.

And every one of us will use social security - even Tories. Do you know anyone who turns down their state pension?

But what started as a good idea turned into a Tory opportunity to turn the screw on those in need - waiting times for money, reduced payouts, tighter rules, even the dying being ruled "fit to work".

And diverting the "savings" - which don't save anyone - to reduce taxes for the more well off.

So what else should be in the window?

Cut 20,000 police officers from the service down south. And then find crime rises. A primary school essay on public safety might have made that connection. So that's another "achievement" that needs to be hidden in the store at the back of the shop.

Or - shut the door on the vital workers that come here to keep our fish processing industries, our fruit farming, hospitality industries the huge successes that they are.

So read everything that comes into the house, especially if you don't expect to agree with it. You might even find a few positive reasons to vote in a particular way. But it's unlikely you will find a positive reason to vote in anything where the big word on the cover, inside and on the back is - NO.

29 October 2019

Standing up for the North-East

Following the constant uncertainty at the top of government in Westminster it is more important than ever to ensure the interests of the North-East are accounted for.

Better health care for the North-east has always remained a top priority since my election. Locally having access to the best quality health care has not been without its frustrations with practice closures and mergers.

That is why I am delighted to welcome £9.34million of Scottish Government funding this week to improvements to GP practices. This money will provide an upgrade to premises and IT systems.

It’s a substantial investment by the Scottish Government which will support GPs, the wider primary care workforce and most importantly the local communities they serve.

These upgrades will help to see continued improvements to the delivery of high-quality patient care, including the continued deployment of Attend Anywhere in our remote and rural areas.

It’s also part of a wider commitment to increase general practice funding by £250 million by 2021 as part of an extra investment of £500 million per year for primary care funding.

This funding together with the wider reform programme will mean additional staff working in primary care, providing better services for patients and allowing them to see the right person at the right time.

At a time when UK politics appears to be lurching from chaos to crisis, the Scottish Government is delivering funding that will help local communities in real terms.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories are guilty of sheer hypocrisy after their latest flip flop on Scotland’s vital fisheries sector.

The MPs were prepared to sell-out the industry by backing Boris Johnson’s extreme Brexit deal.

Scottish Tory MP Luke Graham last week admitted that there, in fact, would be negotiations and concessions from the UK over fishing quotas with the EU post-Brexit – despite repeated pledges by the thirteen Scottish Tory MPs that Scotland would have full control over its fisheries if Scotland left the EU.

In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, the Scottish Tories repeatedly claimed that crashing out of the EU would be good for Scotland's fisheries.

In reality - and by their admission - now there would need to be further negotiations and concessions for the fishing sector.

This contradicts everything the Scottish Tories have said about Scotland's fisheries - they prove time and time again that the Tories simply cannot be trusted to deliver for our vital food and drink sector that employs so many people in this constituency.

Rather than standing up for the industry, they are instead preparing to sell it out simply to further their narrow self-interest and political careers.

The SNP will always stand up for Scotland’s fishing sector while other parties fail. Only with our own seat at the EU table as an independent nation can Scotland negotiate public policy tailored around Scotland’s crucial fishing industries.

15 October 2019

The Odd One Out - No Democratic Accountability at Westminster

I spend a great deal of my life as Parliamentarian reading and scrutinising legislation and holding the Scottish Government to account.

Whatever your view on Brexit may be the process of leaving the EU has highlighted a range of concerns about the democratic structure of Westminster when it comes to the accountability of government.

In Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and even in Brussels, the First Ministers or EU President can only take office after the corresponding Parliament approves of them. This also applies to Ministers or EU Commissioners ensuring that the executive is brought before the parliament following their party appointment.

Up until now, some may say the advantages of an informal constitution have worked, mostly, for the Government. However, if we have learned anything from recent events it’s that there are clear gaps in the constitution and it has been up to the courts to fill in these gaps when it comes to holding the Prime Minister to account. While we can commend the Supreme Court for intervening in the unlawful prorogation, we can’t expect this every time and the Parliament must run of its own accord.

This has left me asking whether the arrangements in Westminster are fit for purpose. I have concluded that the lack of a formal framework in the UK has created a lack of accountability within the parliament itself. This has ultimately led to a situation where the Courts have had to intervene.

If we’ve learned anything from Brexit it is that parliaments need to be open and transparent and prime ministers must be held to account. You won’t find accountability on an organisational chart in the UK Government because it is a function of character - it is about honesty and integrity and is central to having transparency with our political leaders.

We have a party that is not fit to govern, leading a parliament that is not able to legislate, these contradictions are no longer sustainable - things have to change.

Meanwhile, fishing remains a concern following our withdrawal from the UK - especially if we are to leave the UK without a deal. Pelagic and mackerel are currently Scotland's largest export species, both in terms of volume and monetary value. I understand that in the event of a no deal Brexit tariffs into the EU will be enforced of 20%.

This is extremely concerning for Scottish fisherman and processors when it comes to competitive market pricing. Undoubtedly the UK Government's approach to Brexit will cause damage to the industry on and offshore and tariffs like this must be avoided.

Local jobs are at risk along with a hit to the North-east economy.

I have been listening to industry on the real and harsh realities of the approach the UK are taking to Brexit.

It seems that political ideology is trumping economics and my great fear is that the burden of the cost is to be borne by our local communities.

1 October 2019

Decisions, Decisions..

There have been two important decisions this week - both of historic significance.

The first is that of the Scottish Parliament as we successfully passed through the Government’s Climate Change Bill. After months of scrutiny as a member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee I welcomed the bill completing its Parliamentary process.

The new Climate Change Bill demonstrates international leadership on climate action and takes bold steps in response to robust scientific assessment. 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. The bill sets out ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030. We have already halved greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland while growing the economy, so I know we can do it. Scotland is committed to meeting the most ambitious targets possible and doing so while continuing to build an inclusive and fair economy.

I have particularly enjoyed working together with my Conservative colleague John Scott who has given wise counsel throughout the legislative process. We both have a mutual agreement that agriculture will provide an important part of the solution rather being the major problem that many have suggested. Farming will change and forestry is a part of the process of wider change will be key to our success as a nation.

John Scott and I have been particularly concerned about the way that the international greenhouse gas inventory works in relation to agriculture. Farming and agriculture are essential when considering our approach and I believe that the inventory is very unfair in reflecting the cost and benefit of agriculture, because it does not attribute to agriculture things such as forestry and renewable energy.

My final thought on this bill is that I have been inspired by Greta Thunberg and the millions of young activists around the world. When I cast my vote last week, I was thinking of her and her young companions who have led the way in being the change they want to see. I will be gone before it all matters, but for them - they have to inherit a world that is worth inheriting.

Legal Eagles on the Hunt

The second, and unanimous, decision is of course the conclusion of the case against the Prime Minister in the UK’s highest court. I was struck by the ruling in London this week, particularly that the judges went so far as actually to quash the prorogation of Parliament.

Lady Hale, a state educated female directed the UK Prime Minister on what proper legal behaviour is. Rooted in a working class family Lady Hale reminded the Eton educated Prime Minister that Parliament is not there to serve Boris Johnson, but rather he is there to serve the Parliament and the citizens. The judgement sends a strong message of democratic outrage to the Tory Government and provides a reminder that you can’t bypass democracy.

24 September 2019

What's the future?

This may be the most hazardous time to be writing a column. By the time you read this almost anything I might say about politics may have been overtaken by events. So let's stick to some things that are certainties rather than predictions.

In the last few days I had the enormous pleasure to join two sets of ministers on visits to my constituency.

I joined Kevin Stewart at the formal opening of some affordable housing. It has been one of the SNP Government’s key objectives to crank up house building after the previous administration had completed the sum total of six council house in their entire time in office. Kevin’s visit alone saw many more than that.

But it needs more than Government. It’s a partnership with housing associations, with local authorities. So I was delighted to meet people there from Osprey Housing and Councillor Anne Stirling who is deputy leader of Aberdeenshire Council.

Long may such partnerships continue to deliver locally on national priorities.

The other visit saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister & Education Secretary John Swinney come north to launch new funding for schools across Scotland. And to tell us that we shall be getting our share.

But as ever, the perhaps most important part of their visit was the opportunity that it provided for our very articulate school students to make their needs known to Scotland’s Government leaders.

I know students and politicians both got a lot out of that meeting.

Climate Change

Across the political spectrum in Scotland, there is a recognition of the importance of responding to climate change. And in 2009 it was my privilege to take through our very ambitious Climate Change Act with the unanimous agreement of Parliament.

After 10 years it is time to update and recalibrate our ambition. And one early success has been to gain a commitment from the Government to publish a true account of the opportunities our farming communities have to contribute to dealing with this knotty problem.

The international inventories of greenhouse gas emissions are not kind to farmers in how they appear to count the impact of farming on the environment. And many ill-informed writers have made under-researched and potentially damaging comment about this vital industry.

The inventories don’t count wind turbines on farms as farming activity. Nor do they put the huge benefits of forestry or agroforestry into the farming account. And that’s only some of the short-comings of the “official” accounting system. So well done Government. We’ll now see the true benefits of farm activity.

But the big breaking news is that the major United Nations Climate Change conference will be coming to Scotland next year. The “Conference of the Parties” - the COP - is the major international forum to build agreement on how to avoid climate catastrophe.

It has been disappointing that USA is led by a President who rejects science as a means of understanding the world. But I know that much good work is being done by individual states. Let’s hope they come to Glasgow and counterbalance their Federal Government’s uninformed position.

You’ll aye be welcome!

17 September 2019

Is there a rational future?

Commentators around the world now see the UK political system as beyond parody. Virtually no day passes without the breaking of another norm of good behaviour in public life, with the failure to reach conclusions because of the inconvenience of rational thought, the loss of reputation and expectation in the political process.

For those who would wish to protect the privilege of wealth and breeding, this suits their purpose.

But for the general public the cost of dis-function in the making and implementing of public policy may be high.

The old saying, “Prediction is difficult, especially about the future”, used by Winston Churchill and others, is especially true today. But at the time I write, we know that in the 50 days since Johnson took over as Prime Minister of the UK, he has managed to lose Ministers, MPs of his own party and the even the support of his own MP brother – 25 losses in total – and has yet to win a single vote in the Westminster Parliament.

And next ...

Meantime in Scotland, we are progressing 14 new Bills in our Parliament and are getting on with the day job.

In the natural world, the USA, Canada and Bermuda have been lashed by a hurricane. The destruction is clear, the mortality uncertain. But this part of an increasing change in our climate.

For the North East we face the challenge of moving a major industry of ours – oil and gas – to a future model with a dramatically lower climate change footprint. I know from briefings that companies like Shell & BP are on the case.

For my part I expect to chair a meeting with BP at next month’s SNP National Conference. I will ensure that they get a fair hearing but also that they hear serious questions from our delegates.

On many fronts, the future is less certain than it has ever been.

I shall be doing what I can to return us to rational, reasoned decision-making.

27 August 2019

Tory Plan for you to Work 'til you Drop

I have been one of the lucky ones. I reached 65 before the Tories started on their program of taking money away from the next generation of our citizens who approach what they thought would be retirement.

And it's not just been pensioners who are suffering under Tory austerity. Taking from the poorer in our society to protect the living standards of the rich. Tory Universal Credit is hurting too many of our fellow citizens. The Centre for Social Justice, an ironic name if ever I heard one when you consider that this Tory think tank were responsible for Universal Credit, are at it again. They now propose denying anyone under 75 their state pension from 2035.

A new study shows that the proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times what it was in 1986, the largest increase among western European countries. I’m deeply concerned that any further increases in the state pension age could have a hugely disproportionate impact on Scotland and particularly the North East due to its unique demographic needs. The rise, from 0.9% of the elderly population living in severe poverty to around 5%, is attributable to Britain’s state pension system and its “low basic payments and means-tested supplements”, says the report author, Pension Reforms and Old Age Inequalities in Europe.

From the stripping away of free TV licences for the over 75s, to the burning injustices facing the WASPI women who have been denied the right to their state pension, the UK government’s attitude towards the elderly in society is shameful. The new Prime Minister must take action to address the dire levels of pensioner poverty in the UK.

The Scottish Government is working to support the elderly across Scotland and has introduced free bus passes for those over 60 years old, helping around 1.13 million people, along with a new fuel poverty bill focusing on addressing the poverty caused by the cost of heating homes during the cold weather. Additionally, the Scottish Government is working to protect the NHS and has ensured prescriptions remain free. Providing security and dignity for older people is central to our social justice agenda.

However, despite the best efforts of the SNP Government these new proposals could see Scots literally working to the death. The Aberdeenshire average life expectancy is 79.1 years for males- meaning men on average will have just four years to enjoy their long worked for retirement, many will never even make it to retirement!

I find it particularly concerning the lack of thought given to those in manual labour trades. Many of my constituents are working on farms, fisheries and in our national services where the physical demand on bodies is immense and there are distinct challenges working outside and in active jobs. Following changes at the top of government in Westminster it is more important than ever to ensure the interests of the North-East are accounted for- the Conservative Government must stop this callous threat to people’s pensions.

20 August 2019

New UK Government Leadership Needs to Support Scottish Farmers

Following changes at the top of government in Westminster it is more important than ever to ensure the interests of the north-east are accounted for.

Earlier this month, I wrote to Theresa Villiers, the new secretary for the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, asking for a timetable for the repayment of the £160 million which has been taken from Scotland's farmers by the UK Tory government.

The £160 million of convergence funding was allocated by the EU to Scotland but was retained by the Conservative government and used across the UK instead.

However, new Prime Minister Johnson appeared to give a commitment to "make sure Scotland's farmers get the support they are owed" at a Conservative leadership hustings event during his bid for leadership.

Scottish farmers have not forgotten that the UK Tory government has withheld £160 million in funding rightfully due to them.

It is solely because of Scotland that the UK, as the member state, qualified for this funding.

The new secretary of state has an opportunity early in her tenure to set right this historic wrong.

PM Johnson has given a commitment, which has been welcomed by the NFUS president, so it should be a simple matter of carrying out the will of the PM and paying the money.

Scottish farmers will be expecting more than warm words from the new secretary of state.

She needs to send a clear signal to Scottish farmers that she understands their distinct challenges and is prepared to pay them what is rightfully theirs.

In other words, she needs to decide whether she will back Scotland's farmers, or betray them like her predecessor.

The road to October 31 is nearing ever closer and we must ensure that the promises the new Prime Minister is making are kept and that he and his government are held to account.

The Climate Emergency

I was pleased to see the Scottish Government has extended its commitment to addressing the climate emergency we face with further announcements including the opening of a new £6 million project which will use cutting-edge renewable technology to harness energy from water.

As well as this, the Scottish Government is investing £300,000 to expand the Climate Ready Classrooms initiative to help young people aged 14-17 to develop their understanding of climate change, its causes and potential impacts.

The programme aims to engage with at least 50 per cent of Scotland's secondary schools in the next two years and accredit almost 5000 young people as carbon literate.

There was also additional support announced for communities across Scotland to undertake their own Big Climate Conversations, which will feed-in to the Scottish Government public engagement strategy on climate change.

These are all important changes which will help to transform the way we deal with the impact of climate change but also our approach to the challenges we face around it.

It is particularly important that the younger generation learn how to be carbon literate and how we can be the change we wish to see in the world.

9 July 2019

SNP MSP finds fears over Brexit dominating

An interview by Alan Beresford of the Banffshire Advertiser

BREXIT continued to dominate constituent concerns for local MSP Stewart Stevenson as he got his mobile surgery tour under way last week.

The Advertiser caught up with the SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast when his surgery rolled into Rathven. For the third year in a row, fears over the continuing uncertainty surrounding the UK's exit from the EU were top of the list for individuals and businesses alike.

He said:

"The political system is not delivering and a period of intense uncertainty has not been resolved for sometime.

"Businesses in particular are telling me they're finding it difficult to plan for the future.

"Fish processors are experiencing difficulties filling vacancies and have concerns regarding selling their produce in the EU if there's a no-deal Brexit.

"The fish-catching sector has a different set of challenges but they, too, also have worries concerning selling their catch to Europe if a no-deal Brexit means it's sitting for days at a port waiting to clear customs.

"Brexit has definitely topped the list again as a major concern - the UK government is now three years down the line without appearing any closer to a resolution."

The future of Brexit and whatever shape it may take, plus the future relations of the four constituent parts of the UK, very much hang for the moment on the outcome of the Conservative Party leadership race between front-runner Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Stevenson warned there could be many turbulent times ahead for both Scotland and the UK as a whole.

"In a sense there will be no winner from this race, it's a poisoned chalice." he continued.

"The question is what will the winning candidate make of it.

"So far the campaign has been very unconvincing and it would seem neither candidate can deal with the diversity of opinion within the four nations of the UK regarding Brexit.

"One might have thought that there would've been an attempt to build some sort of accord."

Looking ahead into the murky waters of the next six months, not least the October 31 deadline for leaving the EU, Mr Stevenson said the main difficulties would most likely be economic ones, including the impacts on filling jobs vacancies in many sectors caused by a "hardline" attitude to immigration.

He said:

"Whether we leave with the May deal or no deal, the economic impact is going to be huge.

"Scotland is an exporting nation and many products depend on timely delivery.

"I've already written to Michael Gove [Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] and the local council regarding this issue.

"There may be as many as six different pieces of paperwork required to export fish alone depending on how we leave the EU.

"Far from abolishing paperwork Brexit could now make it far more difficult and costly for firms to export."

As for the candidates to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader and Prime Minister, Mr Stevenson was scathing in assessment of their commitment to Scotland and her interests.

Turning first to Mr Johnson - who was recently the centre of much anger north of the border when it was revealed that as editor of The Spectator in 2004 he had published a poem calling for the "extermination" of the Scots - Mr Stevenson said:

"Boris Johnson has said some deeply insulting things about the Scots and Scotland.

"His true feelings for anything north of his Uxbridge constituency are either disregard or ignorance.

"A man known for his idleness and disregard for policy detail is unlikely to do anything to help Scotland."

Mr Hunt fared little better in the MSP's analysis.

"Mr Hunt has particularly found himself changing his mind on a range of policy areas as the leadership campaign has progressed.

"He has no understanding of the needs of the whole UK, to say his leadership can benefit Scotland is a nonsense. He's too hardline."

20 June 2019

Scottish Government leading the way again

Since 2007, the Scottish Government has delivered more than 2,000 homes in the North-East of Scotland.

This is a commendable figure, with more than 1,500 of these properties being created for social rent.

This achievement clearly illustrated the Scottish Government's commitment to building affordable and social housing.

It has always been a crucial part of the Scottish National Party's aim to create a fairer Scotland and improve communities through inclusive growth.

Developments like this are also important because they make a real difference to people's lives, not just in terms of having a property in the physical sense but the sense of identity and belonging that goes with it.

Organ Donation

I was also delighted the Scottish Government passed a very important,long-await ed piece of legislation around organ donation.

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill received a majority backing by MSPs following a debate by full parliament.

Prior to that, donors have been required to 'opt-in' for their organs to be donated, with many people carrying a donor card.

Now, Scotland will move to a new system of presuming consent for organ donations.

The Minister for Public Health, Joe Fitzpatrick said it was a "momentous day for Scotland" and I very much agree with this statement.

It is the biggest change in organ donation legislation in Scotland since the Scottish Parliament came to power.

A similar system was introduced in 2015 in Wales and has been successful.

I wholeheartedly support the hard work done by all on this and which shows the Scottish Government leading the way again.

16 April 2019

Transports of Delight

Rural Bus Services

I was extremely pleased that Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to maintain the supported bus service to Gardenstown.on Saturdays.

A significant number of constituents have been in touch with me since the Council mooted withdrawing the service last year, and, following on from my own representations with the Council, these concerns have been taken on board, with funding found to keep the service running.

The success of this campaign is testimony to the strength of feeling in the village, which is, itself, a major tourist attraction in the North-east - at least partially on the basis of its scenic location. The continued Saturday service is not only good for local businesses, who depend on these visitors. It's good for those who don't, or no longer have, access to private transport.

I was discussing the issue with a former constituent last week, who, is now eligible for the free bus pass the Scottish Government provides for all Senior Citizens. I was delighted to learn that she is taking full advantage of the facility, with weekend trips across Scotland, on expeditions which she may not previously have countenanced, whether for cost or logistical reasons.

While the lady in question is a sprightly 63-year old, the real beneficiaries of this facility are those who are not, perhaps, as mobile as they once were, and can find it difficult leaving their village or even their home. This isolation, particularly notable in rural areas, has significant negative health impacts on our older folk - both physical, and mental. Everyone benefits when our Senior Citizens feel able, to travel - whether that's for recreation, shopping, or to see far-flung family members.

It's for that reason that I will continue to defend rural bus routes in the constituency vigorously - not only as economic lifelines for our local businesses, but as literal lifelines for our older folk. It's also why I would urge all my constituents above the age of 60 to apply, and get the use of, for their free bus pass.

Broadband Connectivity

On a broadly similar topic, another of the most frequently raised issues in the constituency remains its broadband provision.

While this is - theoretically - a reserved issue for the UK Government, we all know that if left in those hands, we would be waiting forever for decent broadband connectivity in our rural areas. For that reason, the Scottish Government has committed £579 million of its own money - thus far - to facilitate 100% Superfast broadband coverage across Scotland by 2021. To date, no other part of the UK has made such a commitment.

Much good work has already been done in the constituency since Holyrood made this commitment in 2017, though there remain a number of blackspots which, for geographical reasons, do not have adequate coverage. The coming two years, however, should see some of those blackspots begin to be tackled - with all the tangible benefits that provides to families and businesses in the North east.

Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

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

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP