Welcome for proposals to improve Devolution

I warmly welcome the publication of Scotland's Future in the United Kingdom. This is an important document and demonstrates that the Labour Government has Scotland's best interests at heart. These are exciting proposals.

Labour is committed to stronger home rule and to ensuring that Scotland prospers within the United Kingdom.


Graffiti Meeting

I am regularly contacted by constituents who complain about graffiti in the West End. Over the summer there was a great increase in incidents of graffiti. The Local Community Planning Partnership in the West End is looking for ways to combat this problem. There was a meeting tonight of local councillors and local people looking at dealing with this. Hopefully we will be able to demonstrate our concerns about graffiti and takes some practical action in the not too distant future.

I am clear that graffiti should not be tolerated and that action must be taken against low-level graffiti in order to prevent its spread.

Social Work Department Recognition and Awards Ceremony

This morning I attended the Dundee City Council Social Work Department's Recognition and Awards Ceremony. This event in the West Park Centre recognised those members of staff who had undertaken training over the last year. It is important to recognise these efforts by staff, especially when they have completed these studies whilst still doing their 'day' jobs.

Ensuring that staff are well trained and motivated is very important issue. A well trained and motivated staff will contribute to providing the best service possible for those who need the services of the Social Work department. As a councillor I have a duty to ensure that those vulnerable people who need the services of the Social Work Department receive the best service possible.

Overall the main message from this event was 'well done to everyone involved.'


Christmas Lights Switch On - In the West End at least

Tonight I attended the concert at Dundee West Church followed by the Christmas Lights switch on at Seabraes on the Perth Road. It was good to see that some traditions are sacrosanct.

The concert was excellent with contributions from Park Place Primary, Blackness Primary and St Joseph's Primary as well as Harris Academy. Well done to all the young people concerned.

Rev Andrew Greaves, the Minister at Dundee West, the ever-excellent Sheena Wellington, Radio Tay's Ken McLeod and the Lord Provost also took part.

It was good to see so many local people turn up and take part in this important community event. In the West End at least it is clear that we will celebrate Christmas not Winter Light Night.

Well done to everyone concerned.

The Seabraes Fireworks website is also worth a look.

Dundee City Council Meeting 23 November 2009

Monday night saw the latest set of meetings of the City Council and the service committees, you can read the agendas here.

I spoke on a number of issues at the meetings. At the Leisure, Arts and Communities Committee I congratulated the Convener on bringing forward a report which highlighted that a variety of facilities would be shut over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Clearly this recognised that the customers - the people of Dundee - and the staff would want to celebrate Christmas and not 'Winter Light Night.' On the ongoing saga of 'Winter Light Night' I was pleased to see my colleague Councillor Mohammed Asif's comments in the Courier and Evening Telegraph highlighting the need for common sense.

There was a long discussion on the review of Council House rents. The SNP-Administration are proposing to consult on a single option which proposes raising council house rents by 4%. This proposed increase is way above the current rate of inflation. Labour tried to put forward an alternative which would have included more options, we supported a Liberal Democrat proposal which was defeated to allow for two options to be put forward. It will be interesting to see what Dundee's council house tenants make of the SNP proposal.

I welcomed a report in the Social Work and Health which proposes a change to the initial way in which people receive home care. It is important to try to maintain the independence of service users.

In the Policy and Resources Committee there was an interesting debate about the future of the V&A project in Dundee. This is slowly moving on. It is important that the council does what it can to promote this project but at the same time the council must be clear that there are no blank cheques.


Well Done Dundee!

I would like to congratulate Dundee FC on their victory in the Alba Challenge Cup this afternoon. It was a great fightback. I watched the game on BBC Alba and it was very good. I am not a Dundee supporter but I think that they deserve great credit for fighting back and winning the cup this afternoon. You can read a report of the match on the BBC Sport website. There are also some interesting reports and pictures on Dundee FC's Official Website.

Feast of Christ the King,St Andrew's Cathedral Dundee

Each year the Diocese of Dunkeld holds a Civic and Academic Mass on the Feast of Christ the King. The councils covered by the diocese are represented as are the police and fire service as well as Dundee and Abertay Universities. The Mass takes place in St Andrew's Cathedral in the Nethergate. I attended the Mass this morning. Unfortunately Bishop Vincent Logan was not able to be present due to ill-health. The main celebrant was Monsignor Ken McCaffrey. The Mass was very beautiful and the choir sang beautifully. It was great to meet many of the parishioners in the Cathedral Hall after the Mass. Monday morning's Courier has a report of this event.