This story is a month old but one that has been on my mind recently as I look around my City of Dundee.
Dundee, like too many villages, towns and Cities across Scotland, continues to suffer from scary levels of deprivation. The figures show that over a third of the most deprived areas in Scotland are in Dundee, Whitfield being in the top 5% since 2004. It is estimated that 1 in 4(28%) of children and young people in Dundee live in poverty, over half of those in poverty are from families who are in work. The second highest in Scotland.
Unemployment sits at 8.7%, 3% higher than the Scottish average. Foodbank use has risen by 18.5% in Dundee in the last year alone. Dundee also has some of the lowest educational attainment levels in Scotland, it’s not good enough.
Dundee is a great City, I’m a Dundonian and proud of it, but that does not take away from the fact that this proud City needs help. There are things going on like the Waterfront Development, the V and A Museum, and the planned regional Sports Hub, all to be welcomed and they will add to the attractiveness of the City, but it’s not enough.
There is a vibrant games industry and University sector in the City, again to be celebrated, promoted and grown to the benefit of the City. But there is a real danger that the many who live, work or not work, and die in the City are being left behind. Dundonians have been failed by various Councils and Governments over the years, are being failed now by the Conservative one at Westminster, and I would like to see more done by the SNP one at Holyrood, although I can say that, in my personal opinion, the SNP have been better than the years and years of very poor Labour and coalition Councils in Dundee in the past.
But more needs to be done, I don’t pretend to have the answers, and there have been too many false dawns over the years, but as a City it deserves more. I know Council staff and other sector workers work very hard and do their best, I know this is a great City, a proud City, but as I look around me, as I walk around the City, the cracks are there for all to see, and as welcome as the new developments are, and as they take shape, they won’t mask the problems that we face. I know the same arguments can be made all across Scotland but this is Dundee, unlucky isn’t an excuse anymore.