April 2014

Jim McGovern backs Labour’s call to scrap the Bedroom Tax   



Jim with Rachel Reeves MP, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Dundee West MP Jim McGovern has joined Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves in the House of Commons to call for an end to the Bedroom Tax.

Mr McGovern sits on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee which published interim conclusions of a comprehensive investigation into the Bedroom Tax last month.

Mr McGovern and his committee colleagues heard evidence attesting to the damage the tax was having on people in Scotland.

The committee recommended the immediate abolition of the Bedroom Tax by the UK government, compensation for money lost by tenants through arrears, and called on the Scottish Government to establish a fund for local authorities to pay for the arrears accumulated by tenants hit by the policy.

Labour in Holyrood introduced a motion to ensure that the Scottish Government provided funds to local authorities so that arrears were not passed onto tenants.

This was eventually agreed to by the Scottish Government.

Jim McGovern said;

“The Bedroom Tax has been extremely damaging to too many social tenants in Dundee.

“I have heard directly from many who have told me of the worry and the financial trouble it has caused.”

“Labour opposed the Bedroom Tax from the very beginning and has lead calls to see it ended.

“It was Labour who brought this issue before the Scottish Parliament.

“It was a relief when the SNP’s prevarication over supporting Labour’s motion in Holyrood eventually came to an end, but this is only the start. “

“The agreement in Holyrood is a temporary solution.

“The people of Dundee need to see the Bedroom Tax abolished altogether.

“Forcing local and regional government to bear the costs simply isn’t right.

“It is clear to me that only a Labour government in Westminster has the will and the resources to deliver a permanent end to this shameful policy.”




Jim McGovern  backs Dundee airport     

2 April 2014

Dundee West MP Jim McGovern has spoken out against the most recent comments made by Edinburgh airport chief executive Gordon Dewar.

Mr McGovern said :

“I am extremely disappointed in Mr Dewar. While everyone supports better rail links between Dundee and Edinburgh few support sacrificing Dundee airport in order to do so.”

“I am concerned that Mr Dewar’s comments are commercially motivated and are not being made in a spirit of public service.

"We all want to see Dundee airport operate without the need for a subsidy.

"Transport Scotland made very clear last year that with the right plan this could happen.”

“I believe that Scotland, being a large country with a widely distributed population, benefits greatly from having good regional airports.

"As Aberdeen and Inverness airports are important to their cities and regions, so Dundee airport is important to the city and to Tayside.

"I am genuinely surprised that Mr Dewar does not recognise that.”

“Scotland cannot focus its major transport infrastructure on the central belt alone; we need excellent regional infrastructure as well.

"The arguments being made by Mr Dewar undermine efforts to see regional services improve, and I hope he reflects carefully on his comments.”







Dundee City Council Budget Statement

Kevin Keenan, Labour Group Leader, Dundee City Council

13 February 2014

The Labour Group will be proposing the following budget amendments, having taken the full level of savings collectively offered by all Opposition Councillors, totalling £401.3k.

This will allow us to make a considerable difference in areas such as Social Work and Education.

Our Education spokesperson, Cllr Laurie Bidwell, states:

“The combined savings we have identified will allow us to amend the budget brought forward by the SNP Administration of the Council.

“I am delighted that we have found a way to stop the removal of the Early Years Practitioners who work in 22 of our Primary Schools in the City. 

“These practitioners, many educated to degree level, make an important contribution to pupils learning by, for example, taking reading and maths groups in P1-3 classes.

"I hope that the SNP Administration will accept our amendment at the budget meeting on Thursday afternoon.

"Since the SNP took over the administration of the Council they have removed staff from our Primary Schools year after year.

"In successive budgets they have cut a Deputy Head Teacher from each of our Primary Schools removed the team of visiting teachers of PE from working in all our primary schools and increased class sizes.

"This time I hope they will step back from imposing a damaging further cutback in our Primary Schools which we have shown can be avoided."

 Our Social Work Spokesperson, Bailie Helen Wright, has made a strong case for the Council to do what it can to address some of the issues within Social Work.  

She is therefore delighted that we will be putting forward proposals which will see no increase in Social Work charges this year.

Although we have had a Council Tax freeze for many years, those paying for services have continued to see substantial increases in charges for services year on year under the SNP.   

For at least one year, we will stop these increases in Social Work charges.  

This is particularly important considering that many of these individuals will have seen their benefits attacked by the Con/Dem Westminster Government.

In the other areas within the voluntary sector who also deliver social care, we have been able to find the funds which will see damage limitation for 20 of the 26 organisations as we have found the funds to deliver a 2% as opposed to the 3% cut imposed by the SNP Administration.

Again, these are organisations that deliver services to some of the most vulnerable in our City, and the SNP owe these individuals more than the apology they have received from the Chief Executive.

Another area that we hope to support is the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) as we are well aware of the increased footfall they have seen with people looking for advice due to Welfare Reform.  

We believe that they are an organisation held in the greatest of respect by the citizens of Dundee and we must be there to support them.