David Stewart MSP

Archive for February 2009

North MSP calls for an end to postcode lottery for treatment of patients with diabetes

26 February 2009

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands Labour regional MSP has questioned the Minister for Public Health in the Scottish Parliament on treatment for diabetes patients.
Mr Stewart said, “I asked the minister if she was aware of the NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) technical appraisal report issued last year which recommended insulin pump therapy as a treatment option for adults and children, over 12, with type one diabetes. “There are major differences in performance among health boards in terms of insulin pumps and I enquired what plans the minister has to monitor health boards’ progress to avoid a post code lottery for patients with insulin dependent diabetes.”
“In response the minister agreed to continue to monitor the performance of health boards over this issue, to maintain current momentum and to revise diabetes plans where necessary.
“We now have an increasing number of our population affected by diabetes due to an ageing population and an increase in obesity.
“Unfortunately, at this time some health boards have been more able to introduce or expand insulin pump usage than others.
“It is essential that treatment for the diabetes is both effective and equally available in all health board areas.
“I will continue to monitor this issue”

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Written by davidstewart

February 27, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Scottish Government confirms London City Bankers dreamt up idea for forest leasing proposals

11 February 2009

Labour’s chief whip in the Scottish Parliament David Stewart is revealing that private bankers Rothschild dreamt up the plans to lease Scotland’s forests.

Following questions by the Highlands and Islands MSP, the Environment minister Mike Russell has confirmed that the City of London merchant bankers approached the Scottish Government with plans for the forest estate.

Mr Stewart commented:

“The proposals to lease off huge sections of Scotland’s national forests to private companies have attracted widespread condemnation.

The government’s regular talks with Margaret Thatcher’s favourite privatisation bank indicates there may have had a client or two in the wings.

This short sighted move to hand over the profits from forests grown by tax payers would be damaging for the management and employment of Scotland’s national asset. Even Mrs Thatcher shied away from privatising the Forestry Commission.

“The numbers just don’t add up.
“We have been told that the national forest estate is worth about £850 million and that the Government wants to raise £200 million from leasing vast areas of forest.
“However, £850 million is the most optimistic valuation of the estate in a stable land market.
“The market reality is that, by flooding the market with an enormous area of land, the Government will lower the price and value of the assets.
“Moreover, the creation of leases with highly restrictive clauses will have a negative effect on the value of the assets, which might mean that even greater than expected areas of Scotland’s forests have to leave public ownership in order to raise the necessary cash.
“If the idea is pursued, any future Government’s ability to manage the forests will be hamstrung for 75 years, irrespective of new knowledge or developments in climate change, land use or any social, economic or environmental policy.
“A quarter of our national forest estate will effectively be exempt from public intervention until 2084.
“That cannot be right.
“The minister has said this is not a back-door privatisation, because only trees will be sold; the land itself will remain in public ownership.
“However, the land is relatively worthless without the trees that are planted in it.
“That fact, coupled with the length of the proposed leases, shows that this is asset stripping of almost eye-watering magnitude.
“Introducing this leasing scheme in the name of climate control also beggars belief.

“Our living forests play a number of roles in climate change mitigation, industry and construction, job creation, biomass, housing, leisure, and biodiversity, and should remain effectively managed.

“Labour will be continuing to call for the withdrawal of this leasing scheme.”

Written by davidstewart

February 11, 2009 at 9:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Apology demanded by North MSP from Environment Minister over misleading Parliament

03 February 2009

A Highlands and Islands regional MSP is calling for an apology from the Environment Minister after incorrect information about jobs with the Forestry Commission was announced in Parliament.
David Stewart had highlighted the fears of Forestry Commission staff that there will be a threat to jobs and the future of Scottish forests in a recent debate.
Mike Russell had commented that 1,000 jobs had been lost in the Forestry Commission when the previous Labour-Liberal Democrat administration was in control.
“From information I have received from people in industry and from figures released in Parliament it is clear that these figures are patently false.
“There is a responsibility on ministers not to give inaccurate or misleading information in Parliament.
“I am calling on the Minister to retract the information and apologise for the comments,” said Mr Stewart.
He added: “This kind of attack is less than helpful when we are trying to have meaningful debate about the future of forestry in Scotland.
“The principle of leasing off huge areas of forestry owned by the tax payer, devaluing the land and passing profits to a private company is a nonsense.
“The comparatively small amount of money this would bring in doesn’t make sense when control over our forests is lost.
“It looks like the SNP’s plans are actually Rothschild’s brainchild – given that the government has sought the advice of Mrs Thatcher’s favourite privatisation consultants – the City of London merchant bankers Rothschild.
“The Minister did not confirm or deny that it was their idea that 75-year leases were the best way of selling off the management rights to Scotland’s national forests.
“Labour maintains its commitment from the 1997 manifesto to keep forests in public ownership”

Written by davidstewart

February 4, 2009 at 8:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

North MSP raises plight of victims with the First Minister

29 January 2009

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP, has been seeking support for a Victim’s Commissioner from the First Minister.
During First Minister Questions, the MSP pointed to the appointment of Sara Payne as a ‘Victims’ Champion’ for England and Wales, and called for the Scottish Government to support his private members bill which aims to put victims of crime at the centre of our legal system.
“The First Minister identified the vital work which is going on in Scotland to support victims of crime and confirmed that as part of a review of victims’ strategy the government would be prepared to consider having a commissioner with responsibility for the support of victims of crime.
“My consultation will be published in the near future and it is vital that we find an appropriate way to rebalance the justice system so that we support victims and those who work to help them.”

Written by davidstewart

February 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized