Kevin Stewart MSP

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Kevin Stewart MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Member of the Conveners Group

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Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Kevin Stewart

Will Ms Boyack give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Kevin Stewart

The 70,000 jobs have been oft-quoted. How many of them have been transferred to arm’s-length organisations that councils have set up?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Kevin Stewart

Will the member give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Kevin Stewart (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)

Quite often in the chamber, I feel that I am in a parallel universe. The First Minister gave a positive speech about the programme for government and the Opposition parties have taken a huge amount of it out of context and have argued against things that they have previously argued for.

For example, I welcome the independent commission on local government funding, which Alex Rowley and Anne McTaggart called for in the Local Government and Regeneration Committee’s report “Flexibility and Autonomy in Local Government”, but it seems from Ms Baillie’s opening speech that that is no longer what Labour wants. Ms Baillie also talked about a reduction in teacher numbers. Today, Mr Rowley argued at the committee that there should be flexibility on teacher numbers and the pupil teacher ratio and that, if local government wants to reduce numbers, it should be able to choose to do so. I sometimes get that parallel universe feeling.

I welcome both the proposed independent commission on local government funding and the news that the council tax will continue to be frozen throughout this parliamentary session.

I also welcome the proposed community charge debt bill. We will see the final demise of the community charge—the poll tax—some 21 years after its abolition. Nearly 85 per cent of those of our fellow countrymen and women who are registered to vote turned out across Scotland to vote in the referendum, and I think that they did so because they thought that there would be a new society. They did not think that they would be hounded for past debts.

I hope that we can continue to get people to participate in such large numbers. We cannot afford to lose the people who voted. We must harness people power by ensuring that more power is given to people.

In recent weeks, the Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee has been taking evidence on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. We have travelled to Dumfries and Fort William to hear the views of people in those towns and the surrounding areas.

The other night in Fort William, we had the opportunity to meet members of the Buzz Project. I played drums, Bruce Crawford was on lead guitar, and we got an idea of what that voluntary project is doing across Lochaber, without any money from the council or the Scottish Government. That is the kind of thing that we need to encourage.

As well as hearing from people while we have been out and about, here in the Parliament we have heard from witnesses from Dundee, North Lanarkshire, Aberdeen and many other parts of Scotland. Many folk are already very much empowered, but we know that many communities are not quite in the same league. I am so pleased that an extra £10 million will go to the empowering communities fund, because community capacity building still has a way to go and £10 million can do a lot.

The message that we have received from people is that they want to be more involved in shaping services, they want better communication from public bodies, and they often want to take full control of the assets in their villages, towns and cities. In some parts of the country, it seems that public bodies do well at communicating with folk and involving communities in shaping services. In others, the very basics of encouraging participation are sadly lacking.

What do I mean by “the very basics”? In Aberdeen, a number of community councils think that Aberdeen City Council is failing to communicate with them about planning applications and that their voices are not heard. In Dumfries, the Local Government and Regeneration Committee heard from representatives of the usual place project, which is trying to establish a fully accessible community cafe with a changing places toilet. They told us about their frustration in trying to get a lease from Dumfries and Galloway Council and being pushed through a maze from one council officer to another.

The provisions in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill on participation requests and asset transfers will help to shift the balance of power to communities. However, legislation and additional funding will not necessarily lead to the best outcomes. The Government and public bodies must ensure that best practice is exported from places such as Dundee, which seems to be doing very well at encouraging community participation, to every public body and council in our land.

I know that all members value the work of volunteers and the third sector. We must remove impediments to their work, so that it can continue to thrive. In the next few days I will visit Barnardo’s, Silver City Surfers and the Trussell Trust’s Seaton food bank, in Aberdeen. Those organisations, and countless others in Aberdeen and throughout Scotland, serve our people well. Their efforts often make a huge difference to folk’sf lives, helping to tackle injustice and inequality. I am so pleased that this Government is making participation a top priority.

15:59  

Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Kevin Stewart (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)

Will the member give way?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

I see from the nodding of heads that all the panel members agree with that statement from Dr Shedden, so the panel members believe that the taxpayer should pick up a proportion of the cost.

As there are no further questions from the committee, I thank you very much for your evidence this morning, gentlemen. We move into private session.

11:50 Meeting continued in private until 12:08.  

Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

Who will go for that one?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

It was suggested that you might be better placed to talk about obligations. Would a licensing regime not ensure that folk knew what their obligations were?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

You mentioned that folk do not know their obligations. If they were licensed, would they have more idea of their obligations?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Convener

I never had a visit from the police.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Kevin Stewart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11694: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11669: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11668: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11662: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11660: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11599: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11532: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11447: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11425: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11344: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Kevin Stewart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03755: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03715: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23084: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23085: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23086: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23083: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00823: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22910: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22912: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22638: Kevin Stewart, Aberdeen Central, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Question >>

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