Poverty, Equality, Attainment, Drugs Deaths, Mental Health Dundee City Council must do better

The Accounts Commission has published its Best Value Assurance Report on Dundee City Council. The report suggests that some things are going well but says that  'the council must now work with partners to move even faster to address complex and deep-rooted problems such as poverty, inequality and the highest level of drug-related deaths for a city in Scotland.' 

The report from the Accounts Commission is a welcome antidote to the hubris and back-slapping of which Dundee City Council is so fond.  Yes, there are lots of good things going on in Dundee, but too many people are poor, too many people are disadvantaged and far too many people are dying due to drugs.

Labour in Dundee supports the investment in projects like the Waterfront and the V & A but if this investment does not contribute to a decrease in poverty and inequality then it will have been an abject failure.

The attainment gap in education is an ongoing blight on the futures of young people in the city.  Is it any wonder that this is case when at a time that the council should be campaigning for greater resources to bridge the attainment gap it did not even bother to spend all the funds available from the Scottish Government for this in 2019/20.  Due to 'slippage' 27 posts aimed at targeting the attainment gap went unfilled saving £733,000 or 11.5% of the budget available.  Sadly, these young people who are being failed have one shot at getting it right, they cannot sight 'slippage' when seeking a job or a place at college or university.  It is clear that when it comes to the attainment gap the message for Dundee is must do better.

We cannot and should not just accept endemic poverty in Dundee.  Much more should be done to deal with it.  Any future investment in the Waterfront or other major projects must show how the investment will play a role in battling the poverty that blights far too much of our city.  The council and its partners can no longer go for the lowest price instead of trying to find ways of investing money which make a difference for the whole of the city and which target the eradication of poverty.

As we know we are living through a public health crisis with Covid-19; but Dundee was already living through a public health crisis in terms of deaths related to drugs and deaths related to mental health issues.  We need to see the same level of commitment and effort from the council , from the NHS and all the other partners to deal effectively with these public health issues.

We are calling for Dundee City Council and its partners, and the Scottish and UK Governments to come together and seriously try to deal with these issues.  We need a city committed to the eradication of poverty and inequality. We need a city which aims to stop all drug related deaths.  We need a city where people in every part of the city matter.  We need to see evidence that the investment available is being used to eradicate the scourges of poverty and inequality and drugs-deaths from our city.