Fair Trade Nation

Scotland has retained Fair Trade Nation status with 43% more consumers reporting that they bought Fairtrade products in 2016 than in the preceding year.

According to analysis by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, in the last four years there has been a 30% increase in the number of towns with Fair Trade status, rising to 65 in 2016. Across Stirling Constituency communities in Stirling, Balfron, Strathblane and Blanefield are all waving the flag for Fair Trade.

75% of local authority areas, including Stirling, now have Fair Trade status with 70% of higher education institutions and 20% of schools achieving the standard.

Scotland was only the second nation in the world, after Wales, to achieve Fair Trade Nation status in 2013 and support sales of products that offer a better deal to workers in developing countries.

Commenting on this Bruce Crawford MSP said;

“Scotland is a caring nation and I am delighted that more Scots are demonstrating this by choosing to buy Fairtrade products. This is good news for people in developing countries who benefit greatly from the Fairtrade premium.”

“Having Scotland’s Fair Trade Nation status affirmed once more shows that Fair Trade campaigners across my constituency and the whole of Scotland are continuing to work tirelessly to consolidate on past achievements and make further progress towards ensuring support for Fair Trade continues to grow.”

SNP SECURING SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

The SNP has supported 3574 Modern Apprenticeships in Stirling in ten years of Government – with 37,000 young people currently going through an apprenticeship in Scotland.

Many areas in Scotland have experienced an increase in MA uptake of over 80% in the last 10 years – with 83.5% more MA starts in Stirling compared to 2007.

The SNP manifesto has committed to delivering 30,000 apprenticeships each year by 2020, up from 15,000 when we took office, targeting the additional places on higher level courses, including graduate-level apprenticeships.

National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 6 to 10 March.

Commenting, Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“I am delighted that as we celebrate this year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week, the latest statistics show that the SNP Government has supported over 200,000 apprentices in 10 years.

“In Stirling, we’ve seen huge growth in the number of apprenticeships since 2007 – increasing from 224 to 411 today.

“The SNP’s extra investment and focus over the last decade has transformed apprenticeships – building bridges with industry, filling skills gaps and enhancing productivity, while giving our young people the skills they need to be at the forefront of our economy and our jobs market.

“We delivered on our manifesto target of reaching 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships each year back in 2011-12 and we have now raised that target to 30,000 per year by 2020.

“This Modern Apprenticeship Week I would encourage all businesses to think about how their business could benefit from taking on an apprentice.”

SNP MSP CALLS ON LOCAL PEOPLE TO SIGN UP

SNP MSP for Stirling Constituency Bruce Crawford has called on local people to sign up and help shape Scotland’s new social security system – with the Scottish Government seeking to learn from the experiences of those currently using the service

At least 2,000 people with experience of the current social security system are being recruited to help shape Scotland’s new system – allowing the Scottish Government to learn from mistakes made in the past. The panels will work with the expert advisory group on disability and carers’ benefits.

Mr Crawford has said that it marks an important step on the Scottish Government’s plans to build a social security system based on dignity and respect.

Commenting, Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“The Scottish Government has been clear that it intends to build a fairer and more respectful social security system once the full powers are devolved over this area – and it is good to see them continue to make good on this promise.

“I hope people across Stirling take the opportunity to sign up to the Scottish Government’s panels and play their part in creating a social security system with fairness at its heart.

“Any government system, be it in education, health, immigration or social security, needs to take fully into account the views and experiences of the people who have used this service at the frontline – and asking 2,000 people with service experience for their views is a clear example of the Scottish Government doing exactly that.

“We have seen for too long the damage that has been wrought by the callous and ideological system operated by the Tories at Westminster – putting the needs of people last and doing all they can to scapegoat and stigmatise those that need the safety net of welfare.

“The Scottish Government’s is committed to building a new social security system based on dignity and respect for people across Stirling and this development is an important step on the way to achieving this.”

LOCAL MSP BACKS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT RATES RELIEF

SNP MSP for Stirling Constituency Bruce Crawford has backed the Scottish Government’s proposals on business rates, after Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced a wide-ranging relief scheme that will offer strong support to businesses across Stirling.

Overall, the complete package of Scottish Government relief will ensure that 71% of business in Stirling Constituency will see either no change or a decrease in their business rates bill – with more businesses being entitled to support through the small business bonus scheme. The Scottish Government had already taken action to reduce the rates poundage to help businesses who have seen a revaluation.

The relief proposals will provide support for hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes, which had seen their rates rise the steepest following the 2015 revaluation. Any rises in this sector will be capped at 12.5% – providing substantial support to the tourism and hospitality industries in Stirling.

Commenting, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said:

“This announcement by the Scottish Government proves once again the SNP’s commitment to local businesses across my Constituency – with the substantial package of support ensuring that many businesses will not see any rise in the rates that they pay.

“The support for the tourism and hospitality sectors is very welcome – after these industries were left facing substantial hikes in their rates bills. The cap of a 12.5% increase provides excellent support to hotels, pubs, restaurants and cafes.

“The extension to the small business bonus will see over 100,000 firms across Scotland pay no rates whatsoever, which is a strong package of support for local businesses, and comes in addition to other funding offered in the Scottish Government’s budget, including the £500m Scottish Growth Scheme, and action taken to reduce the rates poundage.

“This relief package shows that only the SNP are interested in taking decisive action to support communities and businesses, whilst the Tories chase cheap headlines by carping from the side-lines.

“Overall, 71% of businesses in Stirling Constituency will see either a decrease or no change in the bills that they pay – helping to protect jobs and support firms. It is time for the opposition parties to put their political opportunism to one side and to get behind the substantial support that the Scottish Government is proposing.”

EARLY YEARS WORKFORCE EXPANSION TO BENEFIT COMMUNITIES IN STIRLING

The Scottish Government announcement that there will be an extra £1.5 million investment for more nursery teachers and graduates in deprived areas across Scotland has been welcomed by local Bruce Crawford MSP for Stirling Constituency– with Stirling set to receive 5 additional teachers or graduates.

The new staff in Stirling, part of 435 nationwide, is part of the wider strategy of tackling the attainment gap and giving every child an equal start in life. The provision of extra high qualified childcare professionals will ensure that young people benefit from the highest quality care and early years education.

The Scottish Government is taking decisive action to improve early years learning and childcare, including expanding guaranteed free provision from 600 hours to 1140 hours – which will have a positive impact for families across Stirling

 

Commenting, SNP MSP for Stirling, Bruce Crawford said:

“This new funding is very welcome news, helping to ensure that more children in our most deprived communities are able to benefit from specialised childcare and high quality early years learning.

“The Scottish Government is committed to closing the attainment gap, and targeting funding in this way, as well as expanding the guaranteed free childcare provision from 600 hours to 1140 hours, is important in making this happen, and to ensure that every child gets an equal start in life.

“The 5 new graduates or teachers that will be joining our workforce in Stirling will help improve childcare provision in our communities, and I look forward to seeing the Scottish Government continue to invest in our children’s futures.”

JOBS BOOST FOR STIRLING AS SCOTTISH TOURISM BOOMS

The number of people working in tourism in Stirling increased by 12% in one year, new figures show – with Scotland as a whole seeing an increase of 11 per cent.

The statistics produced by Visit Scotland show that tourism supports 5800 jobs in across my Constituency, 13% of total jobs in the area.

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of people employed in the sector across Scotland grew to 217,000 – with the 11 per cent increase in Scotland above the 4 per cent rise in Great Britain as a whole.

The 217,000 members of the Scottish tourism industry represent 9 per cent of the country’s total employment and is the highest tourism level since Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) records began in 2009.

41% of staff in the tourism industry work in restaurants, 24% in hotels and other accommodation and 17% in bars and related businesses.

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford commented:

 “Our tourism industry is going from strength to strength and this increase in jobs shows the vital role that tourism plays in Scotland’s economy and particularly across the Stirling Constituency.

 “Scotland is famed for its warm welcome, incredible scenery and top class attractions – and with 2017 the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we are celebrating our exceptional historical attractions.

“With Scotland ranked second in the Rough Guides list of the best countries in the world to visit this year, tourism in Stirling has a very bright future.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.

“These fantastic new figures show that, from hotel owners to waiting staff, tourism really is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow. They also demonstrate the industry’s commitment to the 2020 strategy – which aims to generate economic growth through tourism.”

MSP WELCOMES SCOTTISH BUDGET 

Bruce Crawford MSP for Stirling Constituency has welcomed the announcements in the Scottish Government draft budget for the year ahead.

The Draft Budget includes new investment in public services, as well as new measures to support business, jobs, economic growth and help ease the financial burden on families.

The Scottish Government Budget delivers increased investment in education, record investment in the NHS, protects low income households from tax hikes and supports more and better jobs.

Commenting on the proposals Mr Crawford said;

“Closing the attainment gap, reducing child poverty and ensuring equality of access to higher education, will generate long term benefits for our economy and public finances. That is why the Scottish Government are prioritising education and providing the resources to match.

“This budget delivers the Government’s commitment to secure the future of Scotland’s health service. Next year they will invest an additional £300 million in NHS resource budgets – £120 million more than inflation – a massive step toward our promise to Scotland’s health service.

“The Scottish Government budget also provides a strong settlement for local government. This means Stirling Council will see an increase in overall spending power for 2017/18 despite cuts to the Scottish Government budget. Councils will also keep the full value of the revenue from Council Tax re-banding – every penny raised locally will be spent locally as councils see fit.

LOCAL MSP VISITS ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY OFFICE

Bruce Crawford MSP for Stirling Constituency visited the Royal Mail’s Stirling delivery office to pass on Christmas wishes and encouragement to the postmen and women at their busiest time of year.

Mr Crawford was given a tour of the sorting centre by Delivery Office Manager, Paul Turner, and was introduced to the postmen and women who are working hard sorting and delivering mail in the Stirling area during the Festive season.

The last recommended posting date this Christmas for 1st class mail is Wednesday 21st December and for 2nd class mail it is Tuesday 20th December. Overseas dates may be considerably earlier.

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After the visit Mr Crawford said;

“It was great to meet the dedicated, hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at Stirling delivery office and to see first-hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year.

“At no other time is the hard work and dedication of postmen and women clearer than during the festive period. I thank them for the extraordinary lengths they go to ensure Christmas cards and presents are delivered to loved ones on time, and for all they do year-round.”

MSP for Stirling Constituency