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Planning (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (Day 2)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2019.

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Photo of Monica Lennon Monica Lennon Labour

I do not think that it is “random” to care about the health inequalities that persist in Scotland. Despite successive health secretaries, we are not seeing real improvement. In fact, we have the Auditor General warning that the future of the NHS is not sustainable. Let us join systems up and see what we can do through the planning system to help people to live longer and to live well in their communities.

We have well-established frameworks for environmental impact assessments. I am sure that the education secretary—to whom the minister is talking—knows much more about this, but if the minister cares to listen for a moment, he will hear me ask why, if we can do environmental impact assessments, we cannot do health impact assessments to the same standard.

The minister talked about amendment 198 being overly prescriptive, but we cannot leave such matters to chance. I am very disappointed that the minister is not willing to accept or support amendment 198, which is simply an add-on to the bill that would clarify what we expect in all our planning authorities. Communities want such transparency. How else is the minister going to satisfy colleagues such as Alex Cole-Hamilton and Iain Gray, who know from their communities of examples of people being unable to get a GP appointments? They have the keys to a shiny new house, but they cannot see a doctor.

I would be happy to give way on that. The minister is shaking his head, but what I described is the reality. We need practical solutions. I am willing to give way to the minister, but—