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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 Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

I will come on to the specific point about Rachael Hamilton’s amendment 157.

The fact is that local authorities require a strong understanding of housing need in their areas. It is right that they should know when a home undergoes a change of use and becomes a short-term let, particularly when housing is in short supply in many parts of our country.

We are proud of Scotland’s thriving tourism industry and we consider the room sharing and access to affordable accommodation that Airbnb has enabled to be a positive contribution. However, a high concentration of short-term lets in a small area can have a negative impact on shared spaces and community cohesion. Local authorities understand the crucial role that tourism plays in local economies and we trust that, when they form their policies on short-term lets, which I emphasise are separate from amendment 156, they will reach a balanced position that is in the public interest.

We do not support Rachael Hamilton’s amendments 157 and 159. The ineffective rent pressure zones are a case in point for why we should not trust ministers with such regulations. I urge the new SNP and Tory alliance to think again, to vote in the interests of the people of Scotland and to vote for Andy Wightman’s amendment 156.