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V&A Dundee opening puts focus on local inequality 
Patrick Steel
The opening of the V&A Dundee on 15 September has become a focus for local groups protesting inequality in the city as Lochee councillor Charlie Malone turned down an invitation to the ceremony because of deprivation in his ward.

Malone said he had made the decision to show that not everyone in the city would be able to enjoy the V&A. He told The Courier: “As a councillor in a ward that suffers from areas of multiple deprivation – where poverty affects one in three children – I cannot indulge.

“Many of my constituents will never be able to afford to take their families to visit the exhibitions, nor indeed the bus fare.

“I was brought up in poverty so I know what it is to miss out on things like this.”

Michael Taylor, the branch secretary of austerity activists Unite The Community Tayside, said they were planning to mark the museum’s opening by taking banners protesting inequality to areas of the city that have suffered from austerity.

“There are serious problems of inequality in Dundee,” he said. “The promotion of visitor attractions and museums is not an answer to these problems. When important community services like the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre are threatened with closure because of funding problems, it is incongruous that the council is putting so much money into the V&A Dundee.”

According to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, parts of Dundee, including Lochee, are in the 5% most deprived in the country, while other parts, such as Broughty Ferry, are in the least deprived decile.

V&A Dundee will be free to enter, including free access to the permanent Scottish Design Galleries, with a charge for major temporary exhibitions.

The museum is also planning to work with schools throughout the city to provide access for children, including support for transport to the museum through a dedicated travel fund.

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