The second report of the Dundee Fairness Commission has been published, highlighting a number of areas which need to be tackled to eliminate inequality.
The Dundee Fighting For Fairness report has identified key areas for the the council and its partners to examine as part of attempts to improve fairness for everyone, including engaging with people about money and financial services, improving mental health provision and reducing the stigma surrounding poverty.
The commission engaged with people in Dundee with living experience of poverty and inequality, which provided a unique insight into the lives of many of the city’s poorest residents, according to the report.
Retired councillor Jimmy Black – chair of the initial commission, which launched in 2015 and published its findings the following year – said it was a good sign the current council administration was continuing to address the imbalances identified in the first report.
Mr Black said he believed the recent actions to tackle the cost of the school day was an example of the commission’s work in action.
He further highlighted the need to communicate financial services available to those in need more clearly as an important finding, as well as the requirement for public bodies and social landlords to engage with clients possibly in rent arrears in a different, less confrontational manner.
He said: “I think a lot of progress has been made since the publication of the fairness commission’s first report in 2016.
“I was concerned the report would be left on the shelf, so to speak, so I am delighted to see it still being referred to in council papers and documents tackling inequality.
“Also, the involvement and engagement of senior councillors like Michael Marra and John Alexander in the preparing of this year’s commission and the detailed work which has gone into it has helped keep it alive.”
Council administration leader John Alexander said the most important way of tackling poverty in the city was to listen to those who have experienced it first hand.
In his report forward he said: “There is no denying that the city is on an upward trajectory, and with it, a hope of creating many hundreds of jobs and in raising the living standards of every single person who lives here.
“But, we must also be realistic and honest about the challenges we face and use them as our motivation for change, for the creation of a more prosperous Dundee in which everyone has the help and support they need.”
“At the same time as the city tries to change its fortunes, ill-thought out policies born in ostentatious surroundings and disconnected from the realities many find themselves in, are creating real and lasting hardship.
He continued: “I know that too many people in Dundee are struggling and we should, and must, do more to help.
“To do that, we have to be able to truly understand what it feels like to be fighting against poverty day after day.
“And the only way of doing that is to listen to the stories, views and ideas of the people experiencing it firsthand.”