Fergus Ewing MSP

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Fergus Ewing MSP

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  • Member for: Inverness and Nairn
  • Region: Highlands and Islands
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Fergus is a member of the following Committees:

Fergus is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Fergus Ewing

Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
The Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism (Fergus Ewing)

I congratulate George Adam on lodging the motion—I believe that he had a similar motion on the topic a year ago—and on the work done by him and his colleagues on the cross-party group on fair trade, to which James Kelly rightly referred and which plays a major part in the Scottish Parliament’s proceedings. Mr Adam is to be congratulated on his work on the issue, as are all other members who are taking it forward.

Mr Adam is, of course, a denizen of Paisley and an enthusiastic supporter of all matters relating to Paisley, including its football team. I was surprised to notice that it took him as long as one minute and 24 seconds to refer to St Mirren Football Club. I am sure that he will be cheered by being able to consume, courtesy of Ms Goldie, the gift of a bar of chocolate the next time he supports the team on the terraces.

On 25 February 2013, the then Minister for External Relations and International Development announced that Scotland had achieved fair trade nation status. That followed the report “Can Scotland call itself a Fair Trade Nation?”, which was submitted by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and considered by an independent panel of experts. The forum had been awarded a total of £787,000 since 2007 by the Scottish Government to take forward the campaign and it was awarded a further £442,000 up to and including 2017 to build support for fair trade across all sections of Scottish society.

We were—rightly—prompted to action by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, and the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament have responded to that call. The question that should be asked is: “What does fair trade nation status mean for Scotland?” Being awarded that status demonstrates our commitment to playing our part in making a difference for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, as various members have rightly described.

In supporting the fair trade campaign, the people of Scotland have shown that we are a caring nation that is determined to do what it can to see that workers in the developing world are paid a fair price for their goods so that they can shape their futures and those of their families for the better.

Many members have referred to areas achieving the status of a fair trade town. I have been advised that, over the past 12 months, fair trade status has been achieved by Kirriemuir, Stonehaven, Wishaw, Aberlour, Bearsden, Milngavie, Elgin, Uddingston and Fauldhouse. I apologise to any town that have I inadvertently omitted.

The cause has gained traction across the country and most communities are positively engaging with it. Reference was made to St Patrick’s—a school from your constituency, Presiding Officer—although the schoolchildren rightly chose to leave before this part of proceedings. About 200 schools have participated in fair trade, and that is the crux of matters. As far as I can see—from being in possession of a six-year-old child—children are instinctively keen on learning more about the world and about those who are less fortunate than us. The work that is done in schools by their teachers, with the support of parents, is therefore to be commended and is perhaps the most important of all. The churches’ work should also be recognised.

Over the past eight years, awareness of fair trade has grown among people in Scotland, to a rate of 87 per cent in 2013—that is a very high level. That awareness is proof positive that this is not just a theoretical, paper cause, but something that has ignited a spark of interest throughout the country, based on a sense of decency.

Patricia Ferguson made a point about the Malawi floods; we have provided £150,000 for the Malawi floods response. In response to Mr Adam’s rather prolonged reference to footballs, I can say that Mr Yousaf has met Bala, and we understand that 100 fair trade rugby balls have been purchased for the Milan expo event on 27 March. That is positive.

Many members have referred to events in their constituencies. In my constituency, the Inverness Fairtrade Group has been working extremely hard during Fairtrade fortnight to promote fair trade in the area by organising and supporting events including coffee mornings.

What we did yesterday was good, but what we will do tomorrow is what counts. The excellent support across the Parliament for the fair trade cause demonstrates that it is in good hands and has not been neglected, as it has been taken up actively by all members. Irrespective of our views on related matters, we agree that we can all support and unite in the cause of fair trade and use the powers, resources and opportunities that we have in Scotland to try to make the world a fairer place.

13:08 Meeting suspended.  14:30 On resuming—  

Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Fergus Ewing

I have every confidence that the keeper and her staff have the capacity and professional skills sufficient to meet the task with which they have been charged by the Scottish Government to complete the land register over the next decade and to register all public land over the next five years. We have adopted the carrot-rather-than-stick approach by considering offering incentives for voluntary registration. We also work with all parties—public bodies and landowners—to encourage landowners to make voluntary registration of their holdings. We will also be requiring public bodies to register their land, so that is something that they will be doing.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
The Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism (Fergus Ewing)

At December 2014, just over 58 per cent of titles and 27 per cent of land had entered the land register of Scotland. Information on whether owners are public, private or third sector bodies is not recorded. Ministers have invited the keeper to complete the land register over the next 10 years, and to register all public land over the next five years.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Fergus Ewing

First of all, it should be understood that the most important thing is to avoid the premature cessation of production in our oil and gas fields. That is our primary responsibility, because premature cessation of production means an end to the jobs and business that flow from oil and gas developments and an end to the tax revenue of hundreds of billions of pounds that flow therefrom. However, Mr Stewart is absolutely right to say that decommissioning presents an opportunity, and I—like him, I suspect—have visited the Arnish yard and worked closely with John Robertson and Burntisland Fabrications. I would certainly expect that BiFab would wish to play a part in the decommissioning opportunities.

As far as the second part of Mr Stewart’s question, on wave energy Scotland, is concerned, I am proud that the Scottish Government has announced funding of £14.3 million, the largest ever investment in marine energy, and I think that the benefits of that investment will be felt across the Highlands and Islands: in Orkney, in Inverness, where the core staff will be based, and in the Western Isles. I am happy to continue to work with Mr Stewart on all those matters.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
The Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism (Fergus Ewing)

Highlands and Islands Enterprise account manages 100 oil and gas companies and invested around £2 million in 2014 in 23 companies that are active in oil and gas, levering in a further £58 million from the private sector, with the potential to create 1,400 new jobs and an estimated increase in turnover totalling £216 million across the region. I co-chair the energy north oil and gas task force, which brings together industry and the public sector to maximise opportunities for oil and gas companies in the Highlands and Islands.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Fergus Ewing

First, Scottish Enterprise has invested £24 million in the energy park alongside Fife Council. Secondly, Adrian Gillespie met John Robertson at BiFab on 13 February. A number of positive actions that were discussed at that meeting will be taken forward. Thirdly, I am in virtually constant contact with companies that are involved in offshore wind and oil and gas sector markets that BiFab has already succeeded in winning business in, and I will continue that contact.

Fourthly, I have visited BiFab in Burntisland and in Arnish in the Western Isles, where Highlands and Islands Enterprise has also supported the company. Fifthly, we have put in place an apprenticeship scheme to ensure that any apprentice in the oil and gas sector who is made redundant is able to complete their job training. A financial incentive of £5,000 will encourage another employer to recruit the apprentice.

We are doing as much as we possibly can. We value the work that BiFab does. We will continue to work very closely with that company and its team to do everything possible so that it will continue to provide a successful business for Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
The Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism (Fergus Ewing)

The Scottish Government is concerned to hear of potential redundancies at Burntisland Fabrications. I appreciate that this will be a difficult time for the company’s employees and their families.

Scottish Enterprise met the BiFab management on 13 February, and the proposed job losses were raised at that meeting. The local partnership action for continuing employment chair has also met the company and has provided information on the tailored support that can be made available to any employees who are facing redundancy.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Fergus Ewing

We will come back to the chamber on this topic. It is too important to treat as a political football.

15:46  

Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Fergus Ewing

The answer is very simple: it is because wind farms have higher output than similar plants in England, whereas coal-fired power stations have the same output as those in England.

Let us get back to the key point. This is very serious. My information is that, unless there is a resolution, Scottish Power must intimate to National Grid, no later than the end of March, that Longannet will be closed. Therefore, unless the negotiations are concluded successfully, there is a great deal at stake. I have taken that matter extremely seriously not for months but for years. At one point, Scottish Power was optimistic that a deal would be reached. We are not satisfied that the assumptions that National Grid has made are prudent—in fact, many of our experts take the opposite view.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Fergus Ewing

Well, all right.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12521.2 Jackie Baillie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendme
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12521.1 Gavin Brown: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12521.3 Willie Rennie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendmen
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12521 John Swinney: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—That the Parliame
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
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YesCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
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NoDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Fergus Ewing
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12395.1: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12384: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12381: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12158: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12154: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11878: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11756: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11664: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11511: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11510: Fergus Ewing, Inverness and Nairn, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S3W-06602: Fergus Ewing, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-06602: Fergus Ewing, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-00002: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/05/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-00001: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/05/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-00000: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/05/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32673: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32686: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32674: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32675: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32676: Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>

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