St Joseph's Bar-B-Q

I attended the summer Bar-B-Q at St Joseph's Primary School on Friday night. It was good to see so many people supporting a local school.


Invest in Harris Academy

After much delay the Scottish Government has announced a scheme to invest in new schools. The scheme falls far short of their promise to match Labour brick for brick. Please find below a response from my colleague Laurie Bidwell, Labour's Education Spokesperson in Dundee and myself where we call for investment in Harris Academy.


For immediate release Thursday 18 June 2009

Yesterday the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Fiona Hyslop, announced a national school building programme supported by £800 million of Scottish Government funding to be shared by all 32 local authorities in Scotland .

Labour Education Spokesperson on the City Council, Laurie Bidwell said,

"The SNP promised a lion and have unveiled a mouse! In the SNP election manifesto in May 2007 they claimed they would 'match Labour's school building programme brick for brick'. This announcement will mean the SNP government will not commission and deliver one new school before the next Holyrood election in May 2011. In addition its scale will probably only help to deliver (by way of 75% national funding) one new secondary school in Dundee . In the Labour led programme in Dundee we delivered two new secondary schools (St Paul's and Grove Academies) and six new Primary Schools via a PPP project worth £90 million (£120 million at £2011 prices). In addition, our administration on the city council, commissioned five new primary schools Whitfield, West End (2) and Lochee-Charleston (2) and the replacement for Kingspark School using prudential borrowing. By any measure, the SNP offering falls very far short of matching our impressive school building programme.

Under my watch, as Education Convener, a feasibility study was undertaken to rebuild or refurbish Harris Academy . That was recently completed and shared with the Head Teacher and Parent Council. The various strategies have price tags starting at about £20 million. Will SNP Education Convener Liz Fordyce now confirm that Harris Academy will be her number one priority on the Council's shopping list?"

Councillor Richard McCready said,
"Harris Academy is crying out for investment. I urge the City Council to make the case for investment in the Harris to the Scottish Government. People in the West End know that Harris Academy is a good school they also realise that it needs to be modernised. Action is required now."


Dundee WestFest

Tonight I attended a public meeting to promote the idea of a Festival in the West End in 2010. The attendance was very good and it was excellent that many local people volunteered to join the committee and look at ways of bringing forward these proposals.

I hope that this will be a success. I would urge anyone who has any ideas about events which could take place in such a festival to contact the committee by visiting the website for WestFest.

Standing up for Dundee and promoting arts and culture

Following the Dundee City Council Leisure, Arts and Communities Committee meeting on 8th June I welcomed the report which highlighted excellence of Dundee's museums and I also called upon the whole council to support extra funding for Dundee's museums. My press release on the issue is below.

Standing up for Dundee

Labour's spokesperson on Leisure, Arts and Communities for Dundee City Council Councillor Richard McCready has welcomed the commitment of Councillor Bob Duncan to stand up for Dundee and to make the case for Dundee's museums to the Culture Minister Michael Russell MSP. Councillor McCready highlighted the excellence of Dundee's museum collection at Monday evening's committee meeting and pointed out that Culture Minister Michael Russell has stated that he is willing to look at ways to make additional support available to Glasgow's museums. Councillor Duncan made it clear that he would be asking the Culture Minister to remember Dundee Culture if extra funding was ever available.

Councillor Richard McCready said, 'I was pleased to see the report on the national recognition of Dundee's whaling collection at the committee this week. This is further proof that collections of national importance are not only to be found in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Dundee is the home to nationally important collections and it is important that we promote Dundee as an important cultural venue.'

'The Culture Minister Michael Russell MSP keeps telling Glasgow based media that he is prepared to look at additional funding for Glasgow's Museums. I have made the point to Mr Russell on a number of occasions that if extra funding is forthcoming for Glasgow then it must also be forthcoming for available. I am delighted that the Convener of Leisure, Arts and Communities Councillor Bob Duncan has put party politics to one side and has agreed to make the point to Mr Russell that Dundee's museums should benefit from extra funding as well.'

Balgay Hill at Dundee Rep

I attended a performance of Dundee Rep's latest play Balgay Hill which is about the Associates singer Billy McKenzie. I really enjoyed the performance and it took me back my first years in Dundee as a student. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed the play. It was another example of the excellent work done at Dundee Rep. I thoroughly recommend a visit. Visit Dundee Rep's website for more information.