David Stewart MSP

Archive for March 2009

Highland MSP’s Delight as SNP Trees Policy Felled

13 March 2009

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands Labour MSP has expressed his delight at the massive u-turn by the SNP Government decision to ditch its proposal to lease large tracts of Scotland’s forests to foreign investors.

Mr Stewart said, “The proposals to allow leasing and cutting rights to private investors was flawed and ill-considered from the very outset. This is yet another humiliating policy u- turn from the SNP.

Under the scheme, 25 per cent of the forest estate would be leased out over a 75-year period.

He said,
“I lodged a series of parliamentary questions on the subject and also raised the issue a number of times, including in the recent parliamentary debate.

“From the answers that I have received, the bottom line is this: the idea came from City of London bankers Rothschild, which was Margaret Thatcher’s favourite privatisation bank.

“The proposal has been widely condemned across the political fold and the vast majority of consultation responses were extremely critical.

“But no one should forget the SNP were prepared to dispose of our forests to foreign investors if Labour had not intervened.

“Together with colleagues Rhoda Grant and Peter Peacock I raised an e-petition against the proposals which has received over a thousand signatures.

“Similarly, many concerned constituents have written to my office.

“There has been little support for the plans, apart from the SNP.

“The unions and rural and urban communities, too, have widely condemned the proposal.

“From the outset I have been convinced the leasing proposals would be disastrous for rural communities and cost jobs.”

Written by davidstewart

March 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

North MSP supports Fire Brigade Union’s Concern over Firefighter Deaths

02 March 2009

David Stewart, Highlands and Islands regional Labour MSP has spoken in support of the Fire Brigade Union’s concern over deaths of firefighters in the line of duty.

Mr Stewart said, “The FBU recently published a report called ‘In the Line of Duty’ highlighting the tragic deaths of an unprecedented number of firefighters in 2007/08.

“During this period three firefighters lost their lives, the highest toll in over thirty years.

“The FBU were at the Scottish Parliament last week and I met with Fraser Parr, the chair of the Highlands and Islands FBU and heard of concerns within the service regarding various aspects of these deaths.

“It is vital that when such tragic deaths occur there is a comprehensive review of the circumstances and lessons are learned for the future.

“I was surprised to learn that records are not kept systematically and may not accurately reflect the number of deaths occurring.

“There is even an absence of a common definition for such deaths.

“My colleague, Richard Baker MSP, has lodged a parliamentary motion highlighting this situation and calling on the Scottish Government to consider the need for a properly resourced central body with responsibility for recording and investigating firefighter’s deaths.

“Firefighters have a vitally important job, which at times can be dangerous and when deaths occur it is essential that any learning points are quickly identified and new procedures introduced to prevent any reoccurrence.”

Written by davidstewart

March 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized