Perth Road Traders Meeting

Over the last couple of months I have been very supportive of moves by  businesses in the Perth Road to set up a Perth Road Traders Association.  As a local resident I know how important the shops on the Perth Road are.  I will try to do what I can to promote the Perth  Road as a district shopping centre within the city of Dundee.

It is good to see a group of traders try to get together to join forces to promote their local area.  I think that the City Council could offer some support to traders in the area; there is scope for a lot of help in kind from the council.  What is needed is a means to focus to promote the area and this is what the traders association would offer.

The Perth Road Traders could make a real difference to their area and could be a very effective voice for their area, I wish them well for the future and look forward to the traders association being formally set up in the new year.  Promoting and protecting the district shopping centre in the Perth Road is very important.


Scotmid donation to Dundee Russian School

On Saturday morning I was pleased to go along to Harris Academy to visit the Dundee Russian School.  Dundee Russian School teaches Russian language and culture mostly to the children of Russian immigrants living in Dundee and the surrounding area.  As a member of the North Regional Committee of Scotmid Co-operative I was delighted to present the Dundee Russian School with a cheque for £300 for musical equipment.  It was really interesting to hear about the work of the Dundee Russian School.

This donation was part of Scotmid's work in the communities in which it works.  I know that many companies make charitable donations but I think that in showing a concern for the local community Scotmid demonstrates the difference that being a co-operative can make.  The video below shows how democracy works in a co-operative.  The last few years have demonstrated that the traditional capitalist model of shareholder owned businesses does not have all the answers.  I think that now is the time for the co-operative model. 

Progress on Living Wage - Could go further

Living Wage 6 November 2012 from West End Labour on Vimeo.

I welcomed progress towards the Living Wage by Dundee City Council but I am concerned that the council needs to go further. The City Council agreed a report on the Living Wage last week which I successfully amended to ensure that the council looks for ways to make contractors and arms-length companies the Living Wage; my amendment also means that Dundee City Council will be responding to the consultation on the Living Wage (Scotland) Bill proposed by John Park MSP.  I have been calling for
action on for some time.  I was glad to see progress on this, after the policy was agreed in principle back in March.

The report agreed by the City Council is good in as far as it goes. I am glad that council workers are to receive what is effectively a pay increase in time for Christmas as I have been calling for.

I do think that we need to take a lead though. The City Council should be saying to employers right across the city that we think that they should be paying the Living Wage. I think that we should be saying to arms-length organisation and also to those contracting with the council that we think that people employed by the council should receive the Living Wage and also that those indirectly employed by the council through arms-length organisations or contractors should also receive the Living Wage.

There is a consultation on a Members’ Bill in the Scottish Parliament proposed by John Park MSP which if passed would require private sector employees working on public sector contracts to be paid the Living Wage and which would also require the Scottish Ministers to prepare and report on a strategic plan to promote the Living Wage. I am glad that the council will respond to this consultation and I think the council should respond positively. We should take the moral lead saying that in-work poverty is unacceptable in Dundee.

We have an important duty to take a lead and say what we think is right and also put those words into actions. In so doing we could make a real difference to the lives of people in Dundee and deal at least in part with ‘in-work’ poverty.

Click on the video above to hear me talking about the Living Wage on Wave 102.


Laying of the Crosses Ceremony

On Saturday I was happy to able to take my place at the Laying of the Crosses ceremony at the War Memorial outside the City Churches.  Once again I placed my cross in memory of my great-uncle Private David McCready of the HLI, (the Highland Light Infantry), who was killed in an accident whilst serving during the Second World War.  I also remembered other great uncles who served in the Arctic Convoys and in the Desert at El Alamein.  I thought about all those who have given their lives in war and those who have been injured.  It is important that we look after those left behind and those who were injured and that we remember the service that has been given.  We should support the work of Poppy Scotland.  We should also look for ways to prevent conflict in the future.

Here is a video about the work of Poppy Scotland.

Hurricane Sandy

Like many people I was very sorry to see Hurricane Sandy cause problems in the Caribbean and in the United States last week.  I hope that people will support the Red Cross's efforts to alleviate some of the suffering experienced throughout the region.  I was also sorry to see that some of the problems caused reached as far as Dundee's twin city of Alexandria in Virginia.  I will be suggesting to the Lord Provost, who is visiting Alexandria soon, that we make sure that Dundee offers any help that it can.  The picture here shows a tree which has fallen onto a house in the outskirts of Alexandria.