Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Ninewells car parking charges : Freedom of Information request to go ahead.

13 January 2009 

Labour are to lodge a Freedom of Information request to force Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to make public her evidence that the cost of buying out the Ninewells PFI car parking contract would be “tens of millions of pounds”.

The information sought would be submitted to the consultation on the Bill by MSP Paul Martin which seeks to scrap car parking charges at all NHS hospitals across Scotland.

Ms. Sturgeon made the statement in the Scottish Parliament last September, but has since refused to release details of her evidence for that cost to Ms. Glen.

Ms. Sturgeon has since admitted that her evidence came, not from a formal meeting, but during a phone call between her departmental officials and officials of NHS Tayside.

Marlyn Glen said,

” The Health Minister believes that a Minister can make a statement to Parliament and can refuse to disclose her evidence for that statement when challenged on its accuracy.

” This goes against the grain of natural justice, and against the necessities of well-informed public debate.”

Ms. Sturgeon claimed that revealing her officials’ estimate for the cost of the buy out would “undermine NHS Tayside’s negotiating position” with the PFI provider, Vinci Park, over the cost of the buy out.

Ms. Glen said,

” The SNP regularly undermined NHS Tayside’s negotiating position by publicising their own estimates of the cost of the buy out that were well in excess of NHS Tayside’s own estimate of the buyout at being in the region of £10 million.”

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