In an article ex-Labour MP , John McAllion , describes his home-town of Dundee that provides some interesting statistics.
In the 19th century, the High Court Judge Lord Cockburn described Dundee as a "sink of atrocity which no moral flushing seems capable of cleansing". James Cameron, who began a career in journalism in the city in the 1930s, described the east coast town as a "symbol of a society that had gone sour".
A national study, "A Divided Britain", identified residents in many of the city's working class neighbourhoods as suffering from the "worst financial hardship in Britain". This was backed up by a contemporary Scottish Executive report showing that 46 per cent of resident households in the city had a net income of less than £10,000 a year while 55 per cent of the same households contained no-one who was working. A Joseph Rowntree Foundation report branded Dundee as a city of poverty, teenage mothers and poor mental health.Dundee GPs were issuing more prescriptions for mental health problems than anywhere else in Scotland. After Glasgow, Dundee had Scotland's next highest concentration of poverty, overcrowding and drug abuse. The city retained its title as the teenage pregnancy capital of Scotland.
At the beginning of 2009 an English-based research group published a report "Cities Outlook 2009" warning of the impact of the recession on 64 cities across Britain. It ranked Dundee 54th of the 64 cities, claiming that it lacked economic prosperity, suffered from a shrinking population and was scarred by stubbornly high levels of social deprivation and benefit. Only Liverpool had a higher level of benefit claimants as a proportion of its working age population.
Annual business statistics issued at the end of 2008, revealed Dundee losing 60 manufacturing firms and 3000 manufacturing jobs in the eight years following 1998. By 2006, the city had become a service sector economy with four times as many workers working in services as in manufacturing. The average annual salary in the service sector was £8,900 a year less than in manufacturing.
The Dundee story has been about low pay, persistent poverty, joblessness and benefit dependency in a city where the hard lives of thousands of its working class citizens have been erased from the official record.
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