Busy Friday …



A busy day with meetings with several fellow councillors on various issues including the revenue and capital budgets for 2009/10. This followed on from an administration group of Labour and LibDem councillors last night.




The City Council Leader has now called has called for a meeting of all the political group leaders to secure an agreement on a budget which would freeze the council tax for 2009/10 whilst making all effort to protect service provision.


Tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” covered this (see http://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/output/2009/01/23/story12541522t0.shtm to view more). As I said to the Tele :


“It is extremely important, particularly given the current economic climate, that we do everything we can to minimise the impact of the council tax


“A balance has to be struck between protecting services, especially to the most vulnerable citizens, but the administration has been putting significant effort into working towards a freeze.”


I also met the Council’s Chief Executive about a constituent’s issue and education matters and spoke on Radio Tay, welcoming the proposals for new schools for the West End at St Joseph‘s Primary and Park Place Primary.


This afternoon, I met with John Gallacher of sQuid (see my article last month about sQuid at http://www.dundeewestend.com/2008/12/squid-card.html). The main reason to meet John was to discuss ways this useful electronic card that replaces small-value cash could be used further in the West End and on Dundee‘s public transport.

sQuid card

I have had a number of constituents mention the newly launched sQuid electronic purse. The e-purse can be used to pay for small value transactions like buying a cup of coffee, newspaper or packets of sweets.

sQuid is an independent company and chose to launch this service in Dundee due to the City Council’s role as the lead authority for the National Entitlement Card (NEC).

Although sQuid issue their own card it can easily be added to an existing NEC and from this month forward new NECs that are issued will contain the sQuid product. One of the aims of the NEC is to reduce the number of cards a citizen needs to carry to access a range of services.


In a trial funded by the NEC, existing card holders in Dundee will receive a letter advising them how to add sQuid to their existing card. Where new cards are issued to school pupils or Abertay University students they will be advised that their new card contains the sQuid product. For a trial period Dundee Council facilities and Dundee Leisure facilities where practical will also take payment using the sQuid card.

sQuid has been recruiting local retailers throughout the city to their network of outlets that take sQuid payments. For example, a number of retailers in Nethergate are already taking the sQuid card. You can see a full list of the participants by going to http://www.squidcard.com/squidmap_dundee.asp.


sQuid is not a credit card and card holders do not require a bank account to qualify for a sQuid purse on their smartcard.


Customers can load cash up to a maximum of £100 on their card online or at one of the participating retail outlets and then use the card in place of cash.


Following a trial period of a year, City Councillors will receive a report on the implications for Dundee City Council continuing with the sQuid product and on the general success or otherwise of the electronic purse in relation to customer benefits, retailer service improvements and encouraging development of electronic services in the city.