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Plea to allocate more funds to help Dundee combat widening poverty gap

Linlathen in Dundee is one of the most deprived places to live in the UK.
Linlathen in Dundee is one of the most deprived places to live in the UK.

Dundee is in urgent need of a multimillion-pound funding boost to protect vulnerable residents from falling into greater poverty during the Covid pandemic, Holyrood has heard.

North East Tory MSP Bill Bowman urged the Scottish Government to address a funding shortfall in the city as the poverty gap widens.

Mr Bowman quoted the latest deprivation index figures for the city, which showed last year there were 1,000 more people in the most-deprived bracket than there were in 2016.

Does the cabinet secretary agree that the Scottish National Party government should fund that in full, so that the most vulnerable Dundee residents are not pushed further into deprivation?”

Tory MSP Bill Bowman

He added that Dundee City Council now faces a reported £19.6 million Covid funding shortfall when he questioned Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

MSP Bill Bowman.

Mr Bowman asked: “Does the cabinet secretary agree that the Scottish National Party government should fund that in full, so that the most vulnerable Dundee residents are not pushed further into deprivation?”

Ms Somerville replied by saying the Scottish Government took supporting low-income families seriously.

Shirley-Anne Somerville.

“Last year £1.96 billion was invested to support low-income households across Scotland. We are delivering on the Scottish child payment as well, which will support families throughout Dundee,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

She added that cash had been made available during the coronavirus crisis, including £5m from the community funding package, which Dundee City Council could take advantage of.

She added that the biggest difference could be made if the UK Government was to extend the furlough scheme.

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