Homelessness Far From Fixed

I am pleased to support Shelter Scotland's Homelessness - Far From Fixed campaign.  Homelessness can happen to anyone.  It is shocking and shameful that homelessness still exists in Scotland today.  Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government must do all that they can to fix homelessness in Dundee and across Scotland.

Homelessness in Dundee:

  • 1,085 Dundee Households assessed as homeless last year
  • 283 Dundee households currently in temporary accommodation
  • 127 Children in Dundee currently in temporary housing
  • 954 Dundee cases opened by Shelter Scotland advisors and volunteers last year
  • 423 calls to Shelter Scotland's free national helpline were from Dundee last year
(Source Shelter Scotland)

I will be seeking a briefing from Dundee City Council about how the council deals with homelessness.  It is important that families have access to appropriate good quality housing. 

 As part of Shelter Scotland's campaign I played their game of snakes and ladders.  This was a little
bit of fun which made a serious political point about the problems faced by families who might become homeless.


Playing games at planning?

At Monday evening's Development Management Committee there was a debate on an application by Aldi to build a store next to Asda at Myrekirk.  This was odd given that Dundee City Council's Development Management Committee agreed to the very same application last year.  I have concerns about why we were put in a position to make a decision on an issue that we had already decided upon. 

I support people and companies having recourse to the courts in order to ensure that the law has been correctly applied.  I would point out that when the council ends being involved in this there is a cost to council taxpayer.

I have written to the Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance MSP, to raise my concerns about this case.  It is ludicrous, in my opinion, that we were asked to make a judgement on an identical planning application to one which had already been approved.  I asked on Monday night why the council did not just say that we had a position on this and move on.  I understand why I was told that this could not happen but I think that does mean that we should consider whether the law should be changed.  I felt that both Aldi and Asda were playing games on Monday evening with their deputations.  That may be fine for two commercial rivals to do what they think they must to preserve their profits but this impacts on the people of Dundee and has a potential to impact on the future of council services in Dundee.

I am particularly concerned about the cost to Dundee City Council of court proceedings which may or may not be the result, in part at least, of a commercial tactic to prevent rival shops from opening.

I do hope that the various planning applications and legal proceedings in this case are all genuine.  It would be appalling if any of these parties were playing games to frustrate the sales potential of a rival.

I think that councillors and the council were put in a very difficult position on Monday evening and that a change in legislation might go some way to stopping this happening in the future.


Where is Dundee's City Deal?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Autumn Statement  announced that he recommitted to the Tay Cities deal, whatever that means.  I think that there should be some public talking about what is planned but also importantly action, some areas are seeing investment already,
and Dundee seems to be at the back of the queue.

Along with a number of my colleagues I have been asking "where is Dundee's City Deal?"   I want to know why Dundee is at the back of the queue when it comes to the City Deal.  Dundee needs jobs, Dundee needs investment.  If those in positions of authority in Dundee can't be bothered to deliver a City Deal for Dundee then they should get out of the way and let people who have the best interests of Dundee and the people of Dundee at heart take their place and deliver investment for our city.

I have asked time and time again why Dundee's City Deal has not been brought forward and have yet to receive a convincing answer.  Our city needs jobs, our city needs action, our city needs investment, our city needs a City Deal.