Save the Dee! petition

Labour in Dundee has backed the Evening Telegraph's Save the Dee! petition. The petition has been signed by Dundee West MP Jim McGovern, Dundee-based MSP Marlyn Glen, Labour Group Leader Councillor Kevin Keenan, Councillor Brian Gordon -a life-long Dundee fan, local Coldside Councillor Mohammed Asif, Labour list candidate Jenny Marra and by myself as Labour's sports spokesperson in Dundee and Dundee City West parliamentary candidate.

We are happy to support the Evening Telegraph's petition. Dundee FC is a Scottish institution never-mind a Dundee institution. It is important for the city that everything is done to ensure that the club keeps going. The punishment given out by the Scottish Football League punishes the Dundee supporters, it does nothing to those who caused the problems. It wasn't the fans who didn't pay the bills. I would like to see the fans owning the club. The Scottish Football League is a membership organisation perhaps they should look to themselves a little more as they allowed the problems at Dundee to come about.

Marlyn Glen and Jim McGovern have raised in the issue of Dundee FC's treatment in their respective parliaments.

I am not a supporter of Dundee FC but it is important that everyone in Dundee gets behind the club in order to save this Dundee institution. I think that Dundee's plight has demonstrated that the benefactor model of football club ownership is past its sell-by date.
You can sign the Save the Dee! petition here.

Dundee Libraries

I am a great supporter of Dundee's libraries. The Central Library is the most popular in Scotland. Thursday's Evening Telegraph pointed out that £15,800 out of £20,032 library fines were paid last year. I am clear that people who use Dundee's libraries should act responsibly and return the books they borrow on time or pay the fine. However, I am clear that the fine for late library books is a deterrent and I don't think that there is a need for a bigger stick.


Pentland Walkabout

On Thursday along with other councillors, council officers and local residents I took part in an estate walkabout in the Pentland area. As in the other estate walkabouts the idea was to look at work which needs done in the area. There were a few issues about pavements and roads. The biggest issue was the ongoing one of the embankments not being maintained. I have been told a couple of different reasons for this, one is health and safety and the other is cost. I want the council to solve this problem.

Community Spirit Meeting

On Wednesday evening I attended a meeting of the Community Spirit Action Group. This group covers the north of the West End ward. This was a very good meeting where local people raised thier concerns. There were concerns raised about bogus workmen operating in the area, the message is clear if you are unsure of someone don't deal with them. There are some useful telephone numbers here.


V & A at Dundee design chosen

The winning design for the V & A at Dundee was announced today. The winner is Kengo Kuma. There are a couple of pictures here of the design. I think that this is an exciting design and I am looking forward to the project going forward from here.
I particularly like the fact that this design gives prominence to RRS Discovery. It is important that the City Council and the other partners now work hard to secure the funding for this important project.
I have said it before but it is worth saying again, V & A at Dundee is crucial to the future of our city. V & A at Dundee will put Dundee on the map as a major centre for design and for culture. It will prvide jobs for the city and will be a boost to the image of the city.
My colleague Pauline McNeill MSP Labour's culture spokesperson in the Scottish Parliament has also welcomed the design, she said:
“All the designs offered something truly unique, but I am particularly delighted that Kengo Kuma’s stunning vision for the V&A Museum has been chosen as the winner.

“This venture promises to transform the Dundee waterfront and I am confident it will become a mecca for the Arts sector in Scotland.

“I have made my support for this project clear and I will continue to argue strongly for government support for the V&A Museum.

“The Arts sector is critical to create the economic growth in Scotland and this kind of project is what the country needs to help lift us out of recession.”

I am committed to being a champion for the V & A at Dundee and playing my part in delivering this important project for our city.

Walkabout Blackness Area

On Wednesday morning there was an estate walkabout in the Blackness Area, this covers Corso St, Abbotsford St and Place as well as Peddie Street and Blackness Road. There was a good turnout of councillors and council officials and a number of members of the Blackness Area Residents Association.
There were a number of issues raised such as wheelie bins being left out and car parking.
As ever if any local residents in this area or elsewhere have any issues which they would like to raise with me, then they should get in touch.

Community Sports Hub for West End

On Tuesday evening I attended a meeting to discuss proposals for a community sports hub in the West End. These proposals are based around Magdalen Green and Riverside. The idea would be to include a variety of sports plus arts and community groups. This would go some way to refurbishing the pavilion at Riverside which is currently in a very poor state of repair. The Sports Hub would allow many sports clubs to come together to and work out how they can work together, it would also provide better facilities. This policy has been implemented in Scandanavia and this has led to many more people taking part in sport in these areas. The meeting tonight agreed to look at ways of bringing this policy forward in the West End.


Logie Estate Walkabout

This morning I joined a number of council officers in a walkabout in the Logie Estate. The idea behind this walkabout is that we note any issues which need to be dealt with and that action is taken. If any residents have any concerns about their local area then please get in touch with me. I have surgeries in the Logie Estate on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 3.30 pm in the Lime Street Sheltered Housing Complex or contact me at home or at the City Council.


Corso Street Sheltered Housing Hallowe'en Party

Dropped into the Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex this afternoon. The Hallowe'en party was in full swing, the residents were having a great time. Scariest moment may have been when they got their councillor to sing for them. I really will have to practice!

Labour Conference Supports V & A at Dundee

As the Labour Candidate for Dundee City West at the Scottish Parliament election and Labour spokesperson for Leisure, Arts and Communities on Dundee City Council I am delighted at the commitment of the Scottish Labour Party Conference to supporting the V & A at Dundee.

I addressed the Labour conference in Oban on Sunday and gave my own commitment to work to ensure that the V & A project comes to fruition. Scottish Labour's Culture spokesperson Pauline McNeill MSP also committed herself to delivering the V & A.

I am delighted that Scottish Labour will pledge to support the V & A at Dundee project in the manifesto for next year's election. I will be a strong voice making the case for Dundee, making the case for the V & A at Dundee.

You can read my speech to the Scottish Labour Party conference here.

Because Scotland Deserves Better

I was at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Oban over the weekend. I thought that speeches were excellent and that Labour brought together a collection of policies which will make Scotland a better place. I will be fighting in Dundee to get the chance to be part of the team which implements Labour's policies in the Scottish Parliament after the election.

Labour's priority will always be jobs. I will be arguing for jobs for Dundee at every opportunity. In the video above Iain Gray sets out his vision for a fairer Scotland and makes the case for a Labour Government in Scotland because Scotland deserves better.

Campaign for a Living Wage

I am calling for Dundee City Council to pay a Living Wage to all its employees. I have received information that the City Council and its arms length companies pay over 500 employees less than £7 an hour. The Living Wage campaign has been supported by a number of public bodies including the Greater London Assembly and Glasgow City Council as well as being supported by churches, trade unions and anti-poverty campaigners. Labour leader Iain Gray has pledged to deliver a Living Wage for Scotland if Labour forms the Scottish Government. You can show your support for this campaign by signing our petition on this important issue here.

I support the campaign for a Living Wage and will be requesting that the City Council consider introducing this policy. Over 500 individual employees of the council and its arms length companies receive less than £7 an hour, this is the rate that the Living Wage would be set above. These are difficult financial times but it is important that work pays and that it is a route out of poverty. Paying a higher rate would also allow more money to be spent in the local economy. I would like to see a Living Wage rolled out across the public sector but I would also campaign for it in all sectors of the Scottish economy.

Below you will see information from Dundee City Council's Head of Personnel

'Apologies for the delay in answering your pay information request, which the Chief Executive passed to me.
Information received from Payroll indicates that we have 324 employees working on a range of part time and full time weekly contracted hours, who are paid a basic rate of less than £7.00 an hour. There are a further 218 paid less than £7.00 an hour, who do not have weekly contracted hours, but work as required on a sessional/relief/supply type basis. These figures include Dundee Leisure and the Ice Arena. '