David Stewart MSP

Archive for October 2010

Coalition Cuts : MSPs brand Highland Lib Dem Minister as “Danny Axeander”

21 October 2010

Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs Peter Peacock, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart said the cuts announced today went totally against the policies the LibDems had advocated before the election.

Many public sector jobs in the region are set to go and there is little likelihood that anything like that number can be provided over the coming years by the private sector.

In a joint statement the MSPS said: “The Tory/LibDems Coalition Government’s spending review is flawed and has resulted in cuts which are too hard and too deep and which have been carried out too quickly.

“The private sector in the Highlands and Islands significantly depends on public sector jobs so job losses in the public sector will drastically affect the Highland economy both directly and indirectly.

“The Lib Dems, including their new pin-up boy Danny Alexander have backed cuts they campaigned against at the election.”

The MSPs added: “Danny’s surname should be changed to Axeander from now on, as he enthusiastically wields the axe to the very public services and policies he used to say he supported.

“These include a pledge not to increase VAT, to reduce fuel costs on the Highland mainland and to scrap unfair university tuition fees in England.”

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Written by davidstewart

October 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Labour blast Tory-Lib Dem coalition over RAF Kinloss

20 October 2010

Scottish Labour’s David Stewart has blasted the Tory/Lib-Dem Coalition Government for taking a decision which has put RAF Kinloss in the firing line.

Ministers have cancelled orders for the new Nimrod as part of the UK government’s defence review.

Nine of the MRA4 surveillance aircraft were due to be based at Kinloss.

Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that MOD personnel may in future be accommodated at the base but its future looks in extreme peril.

The future of nearby RAF Lossiemouth, home to Tornado squadrons, remains uncertain.

Scottish Labour’s Chief Whip and MSP for the Highlands and Islands, who represents the bases, David Stewart, said the closure of Kinloss would have a terrible impact on the local economy.

He stated,

“The announcement by Mr Cameron poses more questions than answers.

“RAF Kinloss, which provides well over 2,000 jobs directly and indirectly in Moray, now has the Sword of Damocles hanging over it.

“The base and is supporting industries contributes well over £50million to the economy and I urge the Government to reconsider its decision.”

He added,

“Moray has a long and proud RAF tradition going back 65 years but part of that history looks to have been killed off by the Tories and their new helpers the Lib Dems.

“The Moray bases exist for a reason.

“They are located further north than any other such bases and provide some of the best flying conditions in the UK.

“From start to finish the defence review has been conducted at reckless speed with George Osborne
in the driving seat fuelled by his crazy desire to cut faster and deeper than is safe.”

Mr Stewart’s Labour colleague Peter Peacock MSP added,

“This decision is likely to have a devastating effect on Moray and the wider regional economy of the inner Moray Firth.

“It will present Moray with the grimmest of economic futures, with little or no alternative employment locally, and little prospect of there being so as the effect of wider cuts in public spending further shrink the economy and job prospects.

He concluded: “Job losses at Kinloss could match anything we have seen in the Highlands and Islands in recent decades.

“Not since the last Tory Government when we saw the closure of the smelter in Invergordon and the pulp mill in Fort William have we seen anything on this dramatic and damaging scale.”

Written by davidstewart

October 20, 2010 at 8:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

David Stewart calls for “Zero tolerance” approach towards anti-social behaviour

 Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has called for a zero tolerance approach to be taken towards anti-social behaviour after learning how much it blights the lives of Hilton and Smithton residents.

The MSP was inundated with replies to a survey asking local people about anti-social problems in their streets.

The five main areas of concern were vandalism, litter, alcohol abuse, graffiti and noise.

Residents complained of a host of problems, from verbal abuse by youths and youngsters fighting in the street to damage caused to cars, gardens and fences, smashed bottles, dog fouling, drug dealing and under age alcohol abuse.

Posing with his “graffiti wall” to highlight the problem, Mr Stewart said:

“Anti-social behaviour blights the lives of far too many people in Hilton and Smithton and in other parts of Inverness, making their lives a misery on a daily basis.

“We need a stronger approach taken to anti-social behaviour.

“I have had regular meetings with Highland Council and the police which have been helpful but unfortunately the problem persists.”

He added: “There should be a zero tolerance approach to taken anti-social behaviour, with stronger enforcement of the law, more police patrols and greater use of CCTV cameras.”

Written by davidstewart

October 13, 2010 at 7:26 am

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Sensible Driving – Always Arriving : Graduated Licence Scheme

6 October 2010

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart, who is leading a campaign to make our roads safer and is looking to address some of the issues around some of our young drivers, has been backed in his team’s work by an eminent Doctor from Cardiff University.

Doctor Sarah Jones has carried out several years of work in relation to the savings in lives and costs if a graduated licence scheme (GDLS) was introduced in Britain.

David Stewart said, ” I am delighted that someone of Doctor Sarah Jones stature has come forward with all the years work she and her colleagues have carried out in relation to this issue and confirmed what I and my team have been campaigning for, which is a more robust driving test incorporated into a graduated driving licence scheme.

” There is no doubt that this change in legislation would not only save lives, but also save our economy millions”.

As a result of her research, Doctor Sarah Jones established that the collision rate of vehicles being driven by older people is continually dropping, whilst the younger driver rates have remained steady.

This research also revealed that a quarter of all collisions involving a driver aged between 17 and 19 years occurs between the hours of 9pm and 6am and in a quarter of them there are passengers aged between 15 and 24 years within the vehicles.

The research has been carried out in relation to road collisions in Scotland also and shows that if a graduated driving licence scheme was introduced north of the border then, on average, up to 22 lives could be saved each year,1056 road traffic casualties could be avoided and 80 million pounds saved to the Scottish economy.

David Stewart continued ” These facts and figures produced by a team of specialist people such as Doctor Sarah Jones and her colleagues, are quite frankly staggering.

“In view of such overwhelming evidence my team and I are even more determined than ever to take this issue all the way and push for a change in legislation to allow a pilot of the graduated licence scheme to take place in Scotland.

What is a graduated licence scheme?

It allows new drivers to gain driving experience under conditions of reduced risk.

It does this by restricting driving under high risk conditions.

In short it is a more disciplined phased approach to persons being granted a licence to drive.

Initially the learner driver will drive with a supervisor and display ‘L’ plates.

They will have experience of driver observation and motorway driving or dual carriageway driving for example and thereafter they can pass the first part of the test.

They are then deemed intermediate drivers for a fixed term and have restrictions, for example no night driving, no passengers and no consumption of alcohol.

After the fixed term they can then progress to a full licence.

Mr Stewart has submitted a Parliamentary Motion about the campaign:

Sensible Driving, Always Arriving—That the Parliament supports the website initiative being run in Wales called Deadly Mates, which is aimed at encouraging safer driving among young people; believes that, following several fatal road collisions involving young people in the Highlands, urgent action needs to be taken to reduce the deaths of young people on all of Scotland’s roads; supports the calls to introduce measures to ensure that young people drive more safely, including a mandatory display of a P-plate for 90 days after successful completion of a driving test, limiting the size of a car’s engine to be driven by people under 25 and introducing a graduated licence scheme that incorporates night driving, motorway driving and driving observation, and urges the Scottish Executive and the Department for Transport to work together to consider implementing these measures to ensure that no more young people are needlessly killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads.

Written by davidstewart

October 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized