David Stewart MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Member of the Conveners Group

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Meeting of the Parliament 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

Is it Scottish Government policy to increase the speed limit for HGVs on single carriageways across Scotland to 50mph if the evidence from the A9 pilot and average speed cameras supports that?



Meeting of the Parliament 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

Will the Deputy First Minister confirm whether it is Scottish Government policy to create a not-for-profit, publicly owned rail operator at the earliest opportunity in the light of the Smith commission’s proposals?



Meeting of the Parliament 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

What assessment has the cabinet secretary made of limited duration tenancies? Will they create more security for tenant farmers and will they get round the problems that have been identified in the Supreme Court case of Salvesen v Riddell?



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

The First Minister will be well aware that having type 2 diabetes at a young age increases the chances of complications spiralling, including heart and kidney disease and even premature death. However, up to 80 per cent of cases of type 2 can be delayed or prevented through lifestyle changes. Does the First Minister share the vision of Diabetes Scotland of a future without diabetes, which can be achieved by funding research into new treatments and teaching children the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise? Surely our aim should be a country free of Scotland’s silent killer.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

First, I congratulate Jamie McGrigor on securing this afternoon’s debate. The member spoke passionately about population decline on the Isle of Bute, and his speech was very thoughtful and colourful.

In its recent skills investment plan for the Highlands and Islands, Skills Development Scotland argues that the biggest challenge for the region is the attraction and retention of working-age people. Where there has been strong population growth, it has been driven by in-migration, typically of older people.

The beauty of Argyll and Bute has made it a very desirable area to retire in, although it has also attracted many Highlanders from all over the world returning to their place of birth. Argyll and Bute has an older age profile and there is a deficit of skilled people of working age, particularly in the 15-to-39 age group.

What can we do to address the population decline? I endorse the comments of the previous two speakers about the way forward.

I believe that education is a powerful tool in the armoury. The University of the Highlands and Islands has received support from successive Scottish Governments and from all parties in the chamber—I put on record the support that Mike Russell gave UHI when he was education secretary. There are now around 9,300 students taking higher education qualifications across the region, including in Argyll and Bute.

As the university matures, develops and broadens its range of academic courses, I believe that it will decelerate out-migration and encourage more people—and indeed students of all ages—to study, train and work in Argyll and Bute. Of course we have to develop the niche. The great work being done by the Scottish Association for Marine Science is a good example of how to develop a niche to reflect the needs of the local area.

The key is to align academic experience, learning and training provision with the current and future needs of employers. An example is the provision of modern apprenticeships in the energy, engineering and food and drink sectors.

We have to be realistic about the fact that regions in Scotland are, in effect, in competition with each other as far as industry and inward migration are concerned. If the aim is to target those of working age, we need to address the question of how competitive Highlands and Islands as a region, and Argyll and Bute specifically, are in ensuring, as some members have already touched on, adequate affordable housing, integration of transport, broadband speed, and—the point that Mike Russell made—the quality of the mobile phone infrastructure.

Employers will play a key role, of course. It is really important that they are not just passive observers but are key partners with Skills Development Scotland and others in preparing a skills plan that is based on not just current needs, but future needs.

Structural funds will play a very important part in providing infrastructure and helping with social skills in training.

Finally, we all know—but it is worth stating—that depopulation and economic activity are inversely related. In 2012, for example—figures for which were the latest that I could find—Argyll and Bute’s employment rate was below the Highlands and Islands average and its unemployment and economic inactivity rates were above the Highlands and Islands averages. So that is the task.

To take the population change figures from 2001 to 2011, Argyll and Bute lost 3.4 per cent of its population, which is the largest area population decline in the region. It also had the lowest employment rate for young people and the largest economic inactivity rate among young people—it was higher than the Scottish average.

Those are the facts from the past, but we have to be positive for the future.

Argyll and Bute has beautiful landscape and breathtaking scenery, of course, but they do not by themselves put food on the table or clothes on the backs of children. The key goals in addressing the population decline are to stimulate and grow the economy and to target the attraction and retention of young people.

The UHI is an impressive and dynamic institution. In conjunction with Skills Development Scotland and employers, it will give local people and incoming students the tools to serve the local community. The area is open for business, and I am convinced that, as the UHI grows and develops and we remedy the infrastructure headaches, the population decline and economic inactivity will be reversed.

I again thank Jamie McGrigor for his initiative in bringing the debate.

12:51  

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

Will you confirm that you will meet your 2016 affordable housing targets?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
David Stewart

Will you confirm your commitment to sustaining and developing the social rented sector?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
David Stewart

I am sure that you know that the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has provided evidence to the committee of a shortage of affordable housing. Do you agree with its analysis?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
David Stewart

In a sense, is the SFHA’s analysis that the target is always moving? You must constantly adapt to reach that moving target.



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
David Stewart

You will know that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors provided an excellent report called “Building a Better Scotland: The RICS Scottish Housing Commission Report.” It made a number of hard-hitting recommendations to increase investment in affordable housing. Do you agree with those recommendations? Will the Government implement them?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
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AbstainCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
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AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by David Stewart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12074: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11990: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11980.1: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11939: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11933: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11927: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11818: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11796: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11781: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11523: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by David Stewart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24188: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24187: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24189: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24191: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24190: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00886: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23751: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02486: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03827: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23433: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>

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