May 2013Lesley Brennan and Kevin Keenan Dundee Unemployment Level : SNP Trying to Discredit Figures published by their own Scottish Government
Dundee City Council and the Bedroom Tax : Statement on the SNP administration's policy on evictions
Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader, Dundee City Council
29 March 2013
I wish to express my concern regarding the misconception regarding the reported 'no eviction' policy of the SNP Administration on Dundee City Council.
I wish to highlight to tenants, who are facing a reduction in housing benefit due to the 'Bedroom Tax', that the SNP policy will not protect them from eviction.
I am deeply concerned that tenants who are to be affected will only see the headline “No Eviction” giving little regard to the small print.
The SNP policy suggests an eight month protection against eviction, on the assumption that the tenant is doing all they reasonably can do to make payment and stop themselves falling into rent arrears.
It should be noted that the Council will use all the legitimate means to collect rent “which may mean legal action short of eviction.”
There must be clarification in respect to this policy.
Everyone must know how the policy is to be implemented, some definition of the phrase “all they reasonably can do” must be issued so no tenant is misled.
The Labour Group consider it to be fairer for the Scottish Government to amend the Scottish Housing Regulations making it illegal for tenants in Scotland to be evicted by reason of the extra bedroom tax that the Westminster Government has imposed.
This would protect more than just Council tenants but others who are affected like those who rent from a housing association.
Devolution was designed for times like this, and the Scottish Government needs to step up to the challenge.
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Long term unemployment amongst Dundee's young adults increases from 20 to 380 in 3 years
3 September 2012
Long-term unemployment amongst young adults now stands at a 15-year high
The number of young adults in the 18-24 year old group in July who have been out of work for over a year is the highest in the past fifteen years.
The present number stands at 380, while in July1997 it was 445.
The Dundee figure represents 2 per cent of those claiming Job Seekers Allowance as a proportion of the population in that age group in Dundee
This Dundee figure is the highest for the 4 main Scottish cities, the others being :
Aberdeen 0.4 per cent
Glasgow 1.5 per cent
Edinburgh 0.6 per cent
Kevin Keenan, Labour group on Dundee City Council, commented on the figures saying,
“The rapid rise in long term unemployment amongst this important young adult age group is a major concern.
“Three years ago, the figure stood at 20.
“Now it stands at 380
“Part of the solution can come from both national governments.
“They should consider giving a guarantee to all 18-24 long term unemployed of a paid job for 6 months.
“This would enable them to acquire the experience of work that they need for full-time employment .
“However, this has to be just a part of a pro-jobs agenda for Dundee to turn round the economic fortunes of the whole of the city’s working population.
“ Unless both UK and Scottish Government’s tackle unemployment amongst young adults effectively, then the legacy of having so many young people without a job will remain with the city for years to come.”
Labour’s Real Job guarantee would require all young people aged 18 to 24 who have been unemployed for more than a year to go on a six month long paid job, preferably in the private sector.
The government would pay full wages directly to the business to cover 25 hours of work per week at the minimum wage – £4,000 per job.
In return, the employer would be expected to cover the training and development of the young person for a minimum of 10 hours a week.
The employer would work with private/voluntary sector welfare-to-work providers to agree how best this training can be effective, alongside intensive job-search for a permanent opportunity at the end of the six months.
Kevin Keenan : Dundee now has the highest unemployment rate of the four main Scottish Cities
17th. August 2012
Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader on Dundee City Council , has responded to official figures showing that Dundee now has the highest level of unemployment amongst the four traditional main cities of Scotland.
“Last month, unemployment in Dundee rose to its highest level in the past 14 years.
“So serious is the key issue of employment in the city, that Dundee now has the highest jobless rate of the 4 traditional Scottish cities .
“We now have a higher unemployment rate than Glasgow, for both overall rate and the rate for men.
“Dundee’s unemployment rate is now almost twice that of Edinburgh and almost three times that of Aberdeen.
The female unemployment rate in Dundee - 3.6 per cent – is now higher than the male unemployment rate in Aberdeen – 3.0. per cent.
“The city is crying out for action on jobs and the local economy.
“ We need measures such as :
- Bringing forward investment projects like the new Harris Academy
- Giving small firms a one year national insurance tax break to allow them to take on extra workers
-A temporary cut in the UK Government's VAT rise which would mean a £450 boost for families with children.
-A cut in VAT on home improvements to 5% for a year to help homeowners and small businesses.
- A fair and just tax on bankers’ bonuses to fund a real jobs guarantee for all young people out of work for a year and help build many more affordable homes.
“Businesses across the city are already doing their best to help.
“It’s now up to the national governments to redouble their efforts to boost the local economy and get people back to work in Dundee.”
Data (Source :Office of National Statistics)
Numbers in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance in Dundee
July 2012 6,118 (6.5 per cent)
June 2012 6,011 (6.3 per cent )
Kevin Keenan - Dundee job vacancies : "figures make grim reading"
13 August 2012
Official figures have revealed that it is currently harder for unemployed people in Dundee to get a job than in the other 5 cities of Scotland .
The number of job seekers to job vacancies in Dundee was the highest of all the Scottish cities and almost twice the Scottish figure in June .
There were just 545 unfilled registered job vacancies in Dundee in June compared with 6,011 out of work.
This indicates that there are 11 unemployed people in the city chasing every job vacancy.
The number of people in Dundee receiving Job Seekers Allowance per job vacancies compared with other the other Scottish cities in June was :
Inverness (Highland region) 3.6
Scotland overall 6.1
Commenting on the figures , Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader on Dundee City Council, said,
“While this is just a monthly snapshot of the figures, it still makes grim reading.
“People who are out of work and seeking jobs in Dundee deserve better than this.
“They want to provide for their families, and play their part in building a strong economy for Dundee.
“Instead, they are paying the price for Government failure to bring more jobs to the city.
“We need a plan for jobs and growth.
“For example, Labour have already has a plan to tax bankers’ bonuses to gather in £2billion that would create many thousands of jobs for young people.
“We need long-term investment projects brought forward, and help for small businesses to take on more workers.
“ The unemployed need many more opportunities for productive work to get the local economy moving again away from recession.”
Source of data : Office of National Statistics
Unemployment in Dundee now at a 14-year high
The number of people unemployed in Dundee in June rose to 6,011 ( 6.3 per cent)
The last time that figures were as high as this was in 1998. ( March 1998 - 6.3 per cent)
Commenting on them, Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader on Dundee City Council, said,
“As Scotland’s economic performance has worsened into a recession, so the number of those out of work in Dundee has risen to a 14-year high.
“I am particularly concerned about the level of long term unemployment amongst young adults , the 18-24 year old age group , in the city.
“Three years ago, 20 of that group had been out of work for more than a year.
“Today that figures stands at 340.
“ Unless both UK and Scottish Government’s tackle this problem effectively , then the legacy of having so many young people without a job will remain with the city for years to come.
“Dundee’s unemployment rate remains persistently above the Scottish average.
“Dundee needs action on the jobs front from both the UK and Scottish Government.
“Neither of their policies for jobs and growth is working for the city.
“We need a change of plan from both .”
Unemployment figures for Dundee ( numbers claiming Job Seekers Allowance) June 2012
|area of Dundee||June 2012||rate||male||female|
|Balgowan (which includes the Kirkton area)||246||7.0||10.3||4.2|
Source of data : Office of National Statistics
Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre : Council must stop spinning
29 July 2012
Kevin Keenan has appealed to Dundee City Council Chief Executive David Dorward to halt the consultation on the future of the Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre.
Writing to the Chief Executive, Councillor Keenan said,
“In the press yesterday, a Council's spokesperson made reference to the closure of Kemback Street Centre as not being any type of budget saving exercise.
“The Council needs to stop the spin in relation to Kemback Street and start being truthful.
“I have been in contact with Roger Mennie to seek legal advice from the Council as to how this report can be revisited on the grounds that the Report was unclear in its intention as it did not furnish Councillors with sufficient information to make a clear decision about the closure of the Kemback Street and dispersal of its services.
“The Report made no reference directly to the closure of Kemback Street.
“It gave no financial information and did not make any reference to the 76 people that would be affected.
“No assessment was reported in relation to this service change and the impact it would have on these individuals and their lives.
“The Action Group that has been set up suggests that they will be taking the issue to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.
“I believe that they will have a very strong case as I do not consider this Council has discharged its duties in an appropriate manner.
“Therefore I ask that you call a halt to the consultation and re-think the whole process.”
This council must do better
3 July 2012
Commenting on the disclosure that Dundee City Council had threatened to break down the door of a 90-year-old sheltered housing resident with Alzheimer’s disease in order to carry out a gas safety check, Councillor Kevin Keenan said,
“This council must do better.
“I know that the Council has an additional duty to inspect its property where gas is installed to ensure it is safe, and that an engineer must gain access to the carry out this inspection
“ I was shocked to be informed that this Council has been sending threatening letters to individuals who they know are amongst the most vulnerable of their tenants.
“I was contacted by a family of a 90 year old lady who lives in Dundee City Council sheltered housing.
“This lady is also known to the City's Social Work Department as she also suffers with Alzheimer's.
“The family were appalled to read a letter they retrieved from their mother's bin.
“The letter which was sent by the Housing Department said that if an appointment was not arranged for the gas safety inspection they would force entry to the property and bill the resident for the privilege.
“This Council must do better.
“They must try to best understand the needs of their tenants.
“There are enough tell-tale signs in this case; it is Sheltered Housing, a warden has a key and the door has special keyed access to allow social care works 24/7 access.
“I trust the Council will offer an unreserved apology to the family for the stress and anxiety caused
“I also trust that Council will see that this incident is referred to the Adult Protection Team as Council must do better. “
Full Support for New Schools
3 June 2012
I was encouraged to hear from the City Council's Chief Executive's meeting with the Strathmartine Local Community Planning Partnership, when he advised the meeting that he considers that 2 of our local schools need to be replaced - these schools being Sidlaw View and Baldragon Academy.
New schools are something that I believe would have the full support and backing of teachers, pupils, staff, parents and the wider community.
I look forward to the Scottish Government announcing the next phase of funding via the Scottish Futures Trust.
As based on the current capital plan, new external funding will be required to deliver these 2 projects.
I also hope that all the Scottish Futures Trust's teething problems and red tape that has delayed the new Harris Academy are sorted, allowing the next phase to hit the ground quickly, helping the local construction industry.
If the new wave of Scottish Government funding is not forthcoming, I can reassure the Chief Executive of Dundee City Council that I would be the first to put my name to any petition.
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