21 February 2017

Statement: Business and the Economy (Support)

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): I welcome the fact that 972 businesses in Moray and Aberdeenshire will benefit from today’s announcement, adding to the 9,608 premises that will pay no more in rates in the coming year than they did in the past year.

In relation to valuation appeals, is the cabinet secretary minded to follow the example of the UK Tory Government, which is making appeals in England more difficult than they were in response to the crisis there?

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution (Derek Mackay): No, I have no proposals to introduce a charge, as has happened in England. Obviously appeals boards will have to look at capacity issues to ensure that they can manage appeals appropriately, but that is a matter for them. Again, I have no proposals to introduce a charge for appeals, which is what the Conservatives have done.

9 February 2017

First Minister's Questions

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): Did the First Minister note that, last night, the Labour Party signed a blank cheque to the Prime Minister to allow her, without further democratic reference, to determine the terms of leaving the European Union? Does she also note that paragraph 8.16 of the UK Government white paper says that there should be a “mutually beneficial” solution for the Spaniards and the UK in relation to fishing, clearly confirming a sell-out of our interests by the Tories once again?

The First Minister: Nobody should be surprised if the Tory Government is preparing to sell out the Scottish fishing industry, because it has done that on plenty of occasions before.

On the vote in the House of Commons last night, it is deeply regrettable that amendment after amendment was rejected by the Government. Those amendments simply asked for protection for EU nationals and asked the Government to commit to doing things like not breaching the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland. All those amendments were rejected—not a single concession was won through any of them—yet the Labour so-called Opposition decided to vote for the bill and hand the Conservative Government a blank cheque. That is utterly pathetic and shows the weakness of the Opposition that there is in the United Kingdom Parliament in the form of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted last night that the real fight begins now. How utterly pathetic. It is not so much closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as closing the stable door after the horse is dead and buried. The UK badly needs vigorous opposition in the House of Commons, and the SNP is providing it day in, day out. It is just a pity that the Labour Party is failing to do so.

Stewart Stevenson
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