26 November 2015

First Minister's Questions - Carbon Capture

2. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): Yesterday the Chancellor made the disgraceful decision to pull £1bn funding from the development of carbon capture and storage technology in the UK – which could have created the world’s first commercial scale gas powered CCS plant in Peterhead – has the First Minister been in touch with the UK Government regarding this, and does the First Minister have any observations as to the effect of this on the negotiating position that the UK might have at the upcoming Paris talks on climate change.

First Minister: I think Stewart Stevenson is absolutely correct to describe this as a disgraceful decision and I think it’s a shocking example of how the Conservative UK Government is treating businesses. We have two FTSE 100 companies entering a £1bn capital funding competition in good faith, committing resources, time and money towards a bid that was due at the end of this year only to be told at the very last minute that the money is no longer available. We weren’t consulted on this before this decision was announced and as everybody will have realised, the Chancellor actually neglected to mention this in his autumn statement and we were only told afterwards.

Fergus Ewing has already made clear to the UK Government our opposition to this decision – which is the latest in a long list of UK Government decisions which harm energy generation in Scotland. And as Stewart Stevenson rightly says ahead of the Paris talks undermines our efforts to tackle climate change. So I would call on the UK Government today to reverse this decision because it is utter folly, it is unfair to business and it is downright wrong.

5 November 2015

(S4O-04756) Domestic Abuse (North-east Scotland)

9. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what is being done to address domestic abuse incidents in the north-east. (S4O-04756)

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Michael Matheson): The Scottish Government is working closely with our partners in the statutory and third sector to address domestic abuse in the north-east and throughout Scotland. We are investing more than £700,000 in services throughout the north-east to support women and children who have experienced or are at risk of domestic abuse.

Nationally, the First Minister announced an additional £20 million from justice to invest in a range of measures to strengthen our efforts to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls and to better support victims of violence and sexual assault.

Furthermore, we have introduced to Parliament the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill, which, along with our planned consultation on a specific offence of domestic abuse, will seek to strengthen the law in this area.

Stewart Stevenson: I very much welcome the £700,000 that the minister has made us aware is available in the north-east. However, given that, nationally, almost half of incidents reported do not result in a conviction, can more be done beyond what is currently planned to help lead to more successful prosecutions?

Michael Matheson: The Scottish Government is absolutely clear that there is no excuse for domestic abuse and is absolutely committed to doing everything that it can to tackle the issue. Our partners in Police Scotland and the Crown Office have taken forward a range of work in this area. Police Scotland has established a national domestic abuse task force to tackle the most prolific perpetrators. The Crown Office has a dedicated national prosecutor for domestic abuse and has introduced a consistent and robust approach to the prosecution of domestic abuse. For example, in 2013-14, court action was taken by prosecutors in 85 per cent of domestic abuse cases that were reported by the police.

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