Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, David Stewart took the opportunity at the Scottish Parliament yesterday (28th November)  to ask at Questions on Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, what assessment the Government had made of the impact of the North Coast 500 on tourism and infrastructure, and how best the route can be used to develop these.


Responding for the Government, Ben MacPherson, MSP, advised that HIE were Chairing a working group who were looking at all surrounding issues of the NC500. A report commissioned in 2017 evidenced that business trade was up 10-20% and an increase of around 200 jobs. He advised that another impact assessment would be undertaken in December 2018.


David Stewart said ” There is no doubt that the NC 500 has brought an economic boom to the North West Highlands with 30,000 extra visitors coming and the economy itself benefitting from near £9m. However, balance is the key word here. Those concerned in this issue have to make sure there is the infrastructure in place to meet the demand. This means adequate sanitation facilities, adequate roads structure, adequate accommodation facilities and of course a satisfactory traffic and roads management system. I hope the working group look closely at these issues in December.



Health and Sport Committee: 27th November

Health and Sport Committee
Scottish Parliament
27 November 2018
David questions a panel of experts on matters relating to the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill


David questions Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health , Sport and Wellbeing on what assessment he has made of the Spanish system of organ donation.

NHS staff reveal their bullying and harassment experiences

There was a tremendous turn-out on Friday for the GMB, doctors’ and the whistleblowers’ meeting at Eden Court Theatre, highlighting alleged cases of bullying and harassment at NHS Highland.
There were some very harrowing stories told by victims which brought home a culture of bullying and harassment within the health authority.
“I was appalled and shocked by what I heard,” said MSP David Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands and is Labour’s Shadow Health Minister.
Already there have been 140 written statements taken from those with grievances. More are expected to come in after the announcement by the Scottish Government that the independent review into allegations will be conducted by John Sturrock QC giving people a safe place to tell their experiences.
Mr Stewart will be taking part in the Member’s Debate in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday November 27th) – the debate has been lodged by MSP Edward Mountain and is also supported by MSP John Finnie.
“Those coming forward to the review must now receive help and support to cope with what they have experienced,” said Mr Stewart.
NHS Highland is also to get extra support from the Scottish Government under emergency powers, a serious intervention according to Mr Stewart.
A transformation director will assist the board in planning and delivering the improvements necessary to restore financial balance and in implementing the governance arrangements which flow from a recent review commissioned by NHS Highland.
“As all this goes on it mustn’t be forgotten that our hard-working front line staff are still battling away and are highly regarded by the Highland community,” said Mr Stewart.
a change in culture.”

Job Opportunity – P/T Caseworker – Stornoway

Parliamentary Caseworker


Rhoda Grant MSP and David Stewart MSP (Highlands & Islands Region)


Parliamentary Caseworker – Based in Stornoway


The post of Parliamentary Caseworker is an interesting and varied appointment based in our regional office in Stornoway.


The post holder will be the first point of contact with local constituents and will be required to have good communication skills. The successful candidate will be expected to obtain information in relation to casework arising out of issues/concerns raised by constituents, conduct research and then progress enquiries by utilisation of the caseworker system.


The ideal applicant will be well organised, flexible, self-motivated, a good team player and able to work on their own initiative.


They will have demonstrable basic research skills along with strong written and oral communication skills.


Some knowledge and understanding of the Scottish media is desirable along with some experience of working with journalists.


They will need an awareness of the Scottish political scene, be IT literate and have experience of new media, including website content management.


Salary will be £21,633 per annum (pro rata) rising by increments to £23,673.


Hours are 17.5 per week.


Holiday entitlement is 30 days per annum (pro rata).


Closing date is 5pm on 17th December.


Successful candidates will be interviewed early in January 2019.


Unsuccessful candidates will be notified.


To apply, send a copy of your CV, along with a single A4 page supporting statement, demonstrating how you meet the requirements set out above to David Stewart MSP at or to: David Stewart MSP, 3 Gordon Terrace,Inverness,IV2 3HD.


Informal queries may be directed to David Stewart MSP or the Manager, Douglas Mackenzie at the above address. Telephone contact 01463 716299.


As an employer we are committed to promoting equality of opportunity and treatment and to eliminating unfair discrimination in our employment practices.





Person Specification Job Title – Parliamentary Caseworker


Responsibilities will include:


  • Gathering rapid, accurate and detailed information in relation to casework and other issues locally for inputting and progression via the caseworker system.


  • Assist in the preparation and delivering of briefings and updates for the MSP to assist in the preparation of speeches and Parliamentary Questions.


  • Assist in the preparation of press releases and have ability to undertake other media responsibilities.


  • Assist in the drafting of letters to interest groups and responding to enquiries, as required.


  • Liaising with other elected representatives in the constituency and beyond and with  colleagues in the Scottish Parliament and elsewhere.


  • Liaising with internal and external groups. Arranging appointments and diary management. Deputising for MSPs at meetings with groups or individuals.


  • Other duties in support of the MSP carrying out their parliamentary duties as required.






  • Some knowledge and understanding of different research methods


  • Knowledge and understanding of the Scottish political scene


  • Flexible approach with the ability to work unsupervised whilst working as part of a small team


  • Proven communication skills, both written and verbal


  • Strong organisational skills


  • The ability to form and nurture effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders


  • IT literate with a good working knowledge of Word, Excel and Outlookpackages



  • Local knowledge


  • Understanding of local issues




Highlands & Islands Drink Driver Figures

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart,  recently highlighted the issue surrounding the drink driver statistics in the Highlands & Islands (related to a four year period only) and he claimed it would be more beneficial if these figures were broken down to annual statistics. He advised that he was to contact Police Scotland by means of an FOI to ascertain the yearly breakdown of these figures which would then allow more meaningful analysis.


David said ” I have received a response to my FOI from Police Scotland advising that they will not provide the breakdown I requested, because the information can be sourced in the public domain. I have found the desired documents on line which reveal that the detections for drink driving in the Highlands & Islands for the year 2014/15 was 430. For the years 2015/16 it was 484,for 16/17 it was 409 and for 17/18 it was 484 the same as years 2015/16.


” My analysis of these statistics reveal that the introduction of a lower drink drive limit has done little to deter the drinker and driver. Four years ago in the Highlands & Islands there were 430 offenders detected. Last year for the same period that number jumped to 484, so the trend is upwards.


” To address this issue we have to look at other options such as alcohol ignition interlocks being fitted to new vehicles and mandatory rehabilitation programmes for those convicted of drink driving. Clearly we need to do more with regards education. In this regards I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport asking what further measures the Government are taking to deal with the serious issue of drinking and driving because there clearly is a hard core of such people out there who are not listening and are a danger to other road users.

Local Politician and road safety campaigner seeks answers to length of time car has been abandoned on A96

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has contacted the trunk road operator, Bear Scotland, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abandoned collision damaged silver Vauxhall Corsa lying on the South verge of the A96 Inverness Road near Gollanfield.

David said ” I am told that this silver Vauxhall Corsa which has been involved in a collision, has been abandoned on the verge of the A96 Inverness – Nairn Road near Gollanfield for in excess of 10 weeks. All road users travelling this route are well aware of the vehicle. My understanding is that such vehicles could be moved at the time of the collision or shortly thereafter by the emergency services at the owners request. In these circumstances the Police for example would initiate the vehicle recovery scheme and the owner/driver would pay for the recovery. However, at the end of the day it is the owners responsibility to arrange removal of the damaged vehicle and not that of the Police.

” I am aware that this vehicle has been in situ for in excess of 10 weeks and I would have thought that in that time it would be classed as abandoned and it would have been removed by the Operating Company as per guidelines.

“I have today made contact with Bear Scotland to ascertain the reason that this vehicle is being left in situ and at the end of the day I would like them to expedite it’s removal from the verge of the A96, as clearly it is unsightly, succumbing to vandalism and giving those resident or visiting the area a bad impression. I understood that bear Scotland could remove the vehicle and claim expenses back from the owner.

David Stewart is supporting the ‘Brake’ road safety theme this road safety week

Highlands and Islands Regional MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart is supporting the ‘Brake’ road safety theme ‘Bike Smart’ as we near this year’s road safety week, which takes place between 19th and 25h November 2018.

Cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK, with more than 100 riders injured every day in needless, preventable collisions. This is why this year BRAKE the road safety charity are focussing on those that use two wheeled vehicles.
Cycling is one of the healthiest, most environmentally friendly and overall cheapest forms of transport available. The number of people taking to their bikes is increasing year on year so we need to make sure that they can cycle in as safe an environment as possible.
Motorcyclists are disproportionately involved in collisions and the resulting injuries are often severe. The speeds motorcycles can travel are equal to those of cars and yet motorcycle riders do not have equal protection in the event of a collision, such as air bags or side-impact bars, exposing them to the full force of impact. Raising awareness of safe driving behaviour for riders and drivers alike, and therefore limiting motorcycle collisions, is critical to saving lives on UK roads.
“Over the past eight years we at the North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT)have as a team and by working with others, made a real difference with regards road safety across the Highlands Islands and Moray.
“We have secured five road safety awards in recognition of our work, had some influence in persuading the UK Government to look again and improve the training of young and new drivers with a pilot Graduated Licence scheme being trialled in Northern Ireland..
“Whilst we worked closely with SCID (Scottish Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers) we have been successful in persuading the Scottish Government to introduce drug driving limits in Scotland and by working in partnership with local businesses, we have launched many other successful local road safety campaigns.

“By working together, we can and will continue to make our roads safer.”

Photo by: Tatiana