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Conservatives ensure planning bill that delivers for Scotland

The Scottish Conservatives have set out how their amendments to planning legislation going through Holyrood today have ensured a bill that delivers for Scotland.

MSPs have spent three days debating amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill, which is expected to be passed later tonight.

And planning spokesman Graham Simpson has hailed the numerous amendments tabled by the Scottish Conservatives which have strengthened the legislation.

He also blasted both the Labour party and the Greens for the “utter rubbish” both had contributed during the lengthy debates.

Under the new bill, people will find it easier to build their own homes – sparking “the beginnings of a self-build revolution”.

Mediation between developers and communities also forms a major part of the legislation, while powers will be devolved to councils to create short-term let control areas, allowing them to respond to the specific requirements of their local communities.

The housing needs of elderly and disabled people will also be recognised in the planning system; the campaign for changing places will help disabled people; and the agent of change principle will be introduced to help live music venues across the country.

Scottish Conservative planning spokesman Graham Simpson said:

“The original bill pleased nobody – not housebuilders, not councils, and not the environment lobby.

“It was silent on the environment and did nothing to achieve growth, or deliver the new homes we so desperately need.

“Our approach for the final stage has been to rectify that, and deliver something that works for everyone.

“In the last few days we’ve heard some utter rubbish from Labour and the Greens.

“But in reality, we have no problem working with the Scottish Government when we agree on things.

“As a result, we now have a bill that can deliver growth across Scotland that is greener and includes communities in the decisions that affect them.”

Welcome boost for victims of mesh scandal

An expert in mesh implant removal looks set to come to Scotland to help women who’ve been affected by the scandal, it has emerged.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed Dr Dionysios Veronikis has been invited over to treat women who received the botched procedure, and train other doctors in how to carry out the treatment.

It means Scottish women will no longer have to seek the treatment abroad, and brings to fruition a campaign from victims, charities and opposition politicians which has been ongoing for years.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said:

“This is fantastic news for the victims of the mesh scandal who have suffered for too long.

“Mesh implants have been suspended in Scotland already, and that’s welcome progress in itself for the potentially thousands of women who would otherwise have been subjected to this.

“Now there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the women who’ve already suffered.

“It means not only can they access treatment here to have these removed, but that other medical professionals can be trained in how to do this.

“It’s taken far too long to reach this stage, but there will be relief all round that we finally have.”

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