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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 Neil Findlay Neil Findlay Labour

Andy Wightman has done exactly the right thing on the issue and he has support from a great number of people across Scotland. He has worked diligently to address the real concerns that have been raised by constituents in areas where short-term lets are impacting on the lives of people in the community. Those issues are very real in Edinburgh. I doubt whether there is any representative of the city in the chamber today who has not had representations on the impact of short-term lets.

Short-term lets are an issue not just in Edinburgh but across the world. Last year, I was in Barcelona, where there is a massive movement reacting against short-term lets. Today, the Government and the Tories are coalescing to dismiss the concerns of the people and communities whose lives are affected by the sector. No one is saying that Airbnb and the like should not exist, but we have to ensure that they are regulated and that local authorities, who know their local housing markets, are the regulatory bodies.

Working-class people are being driven out of Edinburgh because they cannot afford to live here. Representatives of the city need to look at themselves in the mirror. I have seen at first hand the growing social movement across the world against such letting. That movement will come here and it will grow here. This debate is just a marker for what will happen because, the more that people are driven from the communities where they should be living, the bigger the reaction will be against such letting. The Tories and the SNP should take note.