This is an exciting year for Dundee, we are seeing some very important developments come to fruition. It is disappointing that the people of Dundee have not received the maximum benefit which they could have from these investments, the contracts goes to large businesses with little staying in the local economy.
I want Dundee City Council to look at what has been done elsewhere in places like Cleveland in the USA and Preston in England. In those cities the city council decided that they should use their economic clout to make a difference to their communities. Instead of outsourcing profits and jobs consideration was given as to how money could be kept in the local economy.
In some respects this is about how contracts are let, making sure that local companies can compete by not making the contracts so big that only multi-national companies can apply for them. It is about employing local people where possible and about buying from local suppliers where possible. Often when a business in Dundee goes bust politicians line up to wring their hands and say how terrible it is whilst at the same time supporting a system which stops the local council from spending money locally as the default situation.
This so-called ‘Preston Model’ has been attracting interest and I have written to the City Council Chief Executive asking that he might look at ways in which the policy of the council could be changed to build local wealth. John McDonnell MP has committed a future Labour Government to working on this agenda. You can read more about this in the Co-operative Party pamphlet about it.