At Dundee City Council's Policy & Resources Committee I was pleased that the leader of the council has had a change of heart and brought forward a plan to fund Hogmanay celebrations in Dundee. There is cross-party support for some form of Hogmanay celebrations and it was disappointing earlier in the year for Councillor Guild to rule out support for this. I want to pay tribute to the efforts of Councillor Jimmy Black who has been influential in achieving some financial support for Hogmanay celebrations.
I was also happy to join my colleague Kevin Keenan in calling for none of the £18,000 being made available today to be spent on alcohol. We were accused of being 'puritans' as a result of this but I think that it is important that we recognise the damage that Scotland's poor relationship with alcohol does to our city and our country. I think that we need to change the culture in our country and make the case the you can have a good time and celebrate major occasions without recourse to alcohol.
The £18,000 is welcome but it is clear to me that people in Dundee need to use this money and look at ways of developing Hogmanay celebrations. I want any celebrations to have a focus on being family friendly. It will be interesting to see what proposals come forward.