Jamie Stone MSP
Mr Jamie Stone was elected
to Ross and Cromarty District Council in 1986,1988 and 1992. He was
elected to Highland Council in 1995.
Born in Edinburgh in 1954, he attended
Tain Royal Academy and Gordonstoun School in Elgin. He studied in St
Andrews where he obtained MA in History/Geology.
Mr Jamie Stone was Director at The
Highland Festival and a freelance newspaper columnist. He has also worked
in oil fabrication, oil exploration, and in cheese manufacturing as well
as serving in the 2/51 Highland Volunteers. He is a member of Tain Museum
Trust, and Highland Preservation Building Trust. He is also a member of
the New Club, Edinburgh and the Armagh Club, Armagh.
He is married and has a son and two
Jamie Stone MSP
26 Tower Street
Tel: 01862 892 726
Fax: 01862 893 698
5 April 03
JAMIE STONE WELCOMES 'RED ROUTE' DECISION AS ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR
Far North MSP Jamie Stone has welcomed the news that work on upgrading the
Ord of Caithness section of the A9 is set to move ahead.
Following a recent public consultation, the Scottish Executive today
announced that the lower floor valley (red route) option has been selected
as the best option for the
improvement work between Navidale and Allt
Commenting on the announcement, Jamie Stone said:
"I'm pleased to see positive progress is being made. This decision means
the badly needed improvements are now another step closer. Although the
exact route details are yet to be finalised, we now have an agreement of
the scale of funding and a timescale for the work. "There was
extensive public consultation on the three proposed options for the
route. I'm pleased that local strength of feeling has been given great
consideration. The red route was the preferred choice for more than
three-quarters of all the people who took part in the consultation - 87.4%
backed that option.
"The upgraded roads will undoubtedly be a major boost for local business.
However, there is a strong case for further improvements to the Far North
section of the A9, particularly when you consider the road's importance to
the local economy. It's important to keep up the pressure for more
priority funding for our area. "As people in the north know, I've
made this a major issue for some time now and I'm delighted this important
road upgrade is set to get underway."
FAR NORTH MSP WINS BREAKTHROUGH IN CAMPAIGN FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT GRANTS
On the final day of the Scottish Parliament's first term, Far North
MSP Jamie Stone's campaign for more money for home improvement grants has
taken a major step forward.
The maximum amount of
money available for people renovating sub-standard housing has remained
fixed at just under £10,000 for more than ten years. Mr Stone today
pressed the Scottish Executive to put an end to the delays over
introducing the new increased improvements grants and called for a higher
level of funding to be put into the overall pot. Responding
for the Executive, Social Justice Minister Margaret Curran revealed that
the new grants would be implemented in the new Scottish Parliamentary
session. She also estimated that changes to the funding system would mean
overall resources for private sector improvement grants would rise by
Speaking after question
time, Mr Stone said:
"This is very good news. Private home improvement grants have remained at
the same level for more than ten years so this is a major breakthrough.
"An increase in the level of funding for home improvement grants has been
approved and the new grant should be ready for implementation from the
beginning of May. I've been campaigning for action on this issue for a
long time so it's good to see that progress is at last being made.
"The problems with the lack of affordable housing in the Far North are
well known. There are many derelict houses and run-down crofts
throughout the area that could be transformed into quality homes fit for
the 21st century. Many people in the Far North could benefit from a
home improvement grant. It 's important the new funding system is put into
place as soon as possible."
25 March 03
FAR NORTH MSP RAISES EU FUNDING ISSUE AT MEETING OF BRITISH AND IRISH
Parliamentarians from across the UK and Ireland were today urged to
work together to help attract more European funding to our remote and
rural areas including the Far North of Scotland.
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MSP Jamie Stone
is at the British and Irish Interparliamentary Body (BIIB) plenary session
in Kilkenny. Addressing fellow representatives, Mr Stone highlighted
Kinlochbervie as an example of a community, which would benefit greatly
from EU suport. He mentioned the impact of the current fishing
restrictions and pointed out that the loss of EU Objective One status and
funding has had a massive impact on the Far North. Speaking from
Kilkenny, Mr Stone said: "The loss of Objective One status for the
Highlands and Islands was a real blow. The impact of losing this key
funding can clearly be seen in a community such as Kinlochbervie. An
already fragile community and local economy is now having to deal with a
serious fishing crisis. The twin problems of remoteness and sparseness of
population simply exacerbate the problems. The loss of millions of pounds
of EU support has hit this small community very hard.
"It's important to remember that when the last
application for Objective One money was considered, areas such as
north-west Sutherland, Ardnamurchan and Wick had lots of indicators to
show that they were in need of funding but the comparative strength of
Inverness meant that everyone else in the Highlands missed out.
"Since the start of the current funding phase in 2000, there have been a
number of crises for the Highland economy. The closure of two oil
fabrication yards, the problems caused by the deteriorating state of Wick
and Helmsdale harbours not to mention the current fishing crisis have all
had a major impact on the area.
"Many parts of the Highlands should qualify for this
assistance - many communities deserve and need this money. I think the
BIIB could play a key role in helping make the case for EU funding for our
remote and rural communities. "I know that parts of Wales have
overcome the EU funding problem by fine-tuning their applications and
focusing only on the areas most in need. I think this is a model
that Scotland should follow and I have urged the BIIB to help press the
case in Europe for our fragile communities."
23 March 03
MSP CALLS FOR WIDER TRANSFER OF SNH POSTS
Further to the announcement earlier today that the SNH is to relocate
to Inverness, Far North MSP Jamie Stone has called for the further
decentralisation of those civil service posts to Caithness and Easter
Ross. Mr Stone is urging the Scottish Executive to ensure
other areas of the Highlands benefit from the major transfer of the SNH
Speaking from the Scottish Parliament, he said:
"This is a major victory for the Highlands. Until now, our area had been
overlooked when decisions of this kind were made. Now, for the first
time, we have a major organisation and hundreds of public sector jobs
being transferred to the north.
"Although Inverness is clearly the main winner here, I think there is a
very strong case for the further dispersal of these jobs to other parts of
the Highlands. The Far North desperately needs high quality jobs and the
transfer of some of these civil service posts would provide a much-needed
boost for the local economy.
"Given that Scottish Natural Heritage has such strong links and
responsibilities in the areas of East Sutherland and Caithness, I would
like to see some of the posts based in these areas. I will be raising the
issue with Finance Minister Andy Kerr to find out what can be done. It's
important to make sure that all parts of the Highlands benefit from
announcements of this significance."
18 March 03
STONE WELCOMES NEWS OF WICK FACTORY TAKE-OVER
Far North MSP Jamie Stone has welcomed the news that part of the
former Grampian Records factory in Wick has been taken over by a new
company. The new firm - Gloucester based James Yorke Ltd - moved
into the premises on Monday and has taken over the CD production line.
Currently, seven people are employed in Wick, with this figure expected to
rise to ten in the coming weeks.
Commenting on the news, Mr Stone said: "This is excellent news and
obviously a huge boost for Wick. It's a real breakthrough for everyone
who has been working hard to develop a new future for the factory and for
the former employees of Grampian Records.
"Although still in the early stages, the new operators are very upbeat
about the future prospects. It's an important signal that the new
management have indicated a long-term vision for the business. With part
of the factory up and running again, and some of the former staff being
taken on, there is now a solid base on which to build. "I hope to
set up a meeting with the new management to find out more about their
plans for the Wick factory."
18 March 03
FAR NORTH MSP URGES MORE ACTION FOR REMOTE DENTAL SERVICES
The Scottish Executive has announced it is to double the remote area
allowance for NHS dentists in rural areas from £1500 to £3000.
Far North MSP Jamie Stone has welcomed the news as a sign that the
Executive is recognising the serious problems with NHS dental services in
rural areas, but says for the Far North and the Highlands, it's simply not
enough. Mr Stone has been campaigning for more money and action to
tackle the problems with dental care in Caithness and Sutherland.
Responding to the news, Mr Stone said: "This news is a small step forward
but quite simply nowhere near the solution needed to tackle the very
serious shortage of NHS dentists that we have in the Far North. Thousands
of my constituents currently have no access to an NHS dentist.
"The remote area allowance is a welcome initiative but, on its own, not
enough to overcome the well known recruitment and retention problems we
face in the Highlands and Islands. The Executive needs to investigate new
ideas to help improve the situation. "I do however, think this
announcement is an indication that ministers recognise there are
particular problems in attracting more NHS dentists to rural areas. That
in itself is a significant step. It's important to keep up the pressure
for more investment and action for dentistry in remote areas."
CAMPAIGNS FOR BROADBAND IN CAITHNESS AND SUTHERLAND
Jamie Stone MSP is leading the campaign for broadband technology to be
rolled out in the Far North.
Scotland's First Minister,
Jack McConnell, spoke about the Executive's plans to increase access to
broadband across the country during First Minister's Questions this week.
This follows his announcement at the Highlands and Islands convention on
Monday that six telephone exchanges in the Highlands - Forres, Nairn,
Dingwall, Buckie, Oban and Fort William - will be upgraded for broadband.
Speaking after First
Minister's Questions, Mr Stone said:
"I welcome the news that other areas in the Highlands will soon benefit
from high speed internet links but I want to know what is being done to
extend this technology north of Dingwall. "Broadband exchanges for
Golspie, Wick and Thurso would bring a massive boost to the Far North
economy. The availability of high-speed internet connection would not
only reduce costs for existing firms, but also be a major asset in
attracting new business to the area.
"It cannot be left to the
market to dictate where broadband access is available. It is too important
for people of Caithness and Sutherland for that to happen. There is a very
real danger that Far North businesses will be forced to relocate elsewhere
if broadband is not accessible in the near future.
"I know there is strong
desire in the community for broadband and both John Thurso and I have been
encouraging local residents to register their interest with BT. "I
believe it is the job of government to level the playing field for rural
business. It's important to now step up the pressure to ensure that Far
North communities get their fair share of funding for this new
6 March 03
JAMIE STONE MSP CALLS FOR CIVIL SERVICE
JOBS IN FAR NORTH
Far North MSP Jamie Stone has pressed the Scottish Executive to devolve
more civil service jobs north of Inverness.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament during the weekly
question time session, Mr Stone urged Finance Minister Andy Kerr to give
greater consideration to the Far North when decisions are being taken over
the dispersal of public service bodies. He highlighted Wick and Thurso as
good locations for pensions and IT based jobs.
Speaking after, Mr Stone said: "I'm strongly support the Executive's
policy of dispersing more public service jobs around Scotland. Progress
is definitely being made. For example, we've seen the Food Standards
Agency based in Aberdeen and the Scottish Public Pensions Agency relocated
to Galashiels. Let there be no doubt - under the old Westminster system,
these jobs would almost certainly have gone to Edinburgh.
"However, there is undoubtedly scope for better
results, particularly for the Far North. Even a small number of jobs can
make a huge difference in a rural community. Towns such as Wick and
Thurso would benefit from new jobs delivered through the relocation and
dispersal of government agencies and civil service posts. "The
Finance Minister gave a positive response to my questioning. I certainly
welcome the commitment to decentralise civil service posts. The key test
will be whether we see new jobs and government agencies in the Far North."