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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 13:53 GMT
Bupa 'sorry' for health poster
Underground station
The ad is on display at Bank station
The private health firm Bupa has apologised to the city of Aberdeen over a poster at a London Underground station.

The Aberdeen South Labour MP, Anne Begg, demanded the withdrawal of the poster which she said likened moving to the city to experiencing a major financial disaster.

Bupa said it was sorry for any unintentional offence caused by the advert, which is beside an escalator at Bank tube station and promotes dental healthcare.

"The advertisement was not meant to denigrate the city or the people of Aberdeen," a spokeswoman said.

"The implication was simply that for people working in the City of London that it would be a long commute to Scotland."

The poster shows pictures of workers with the comments:

  • "The bottom's fallen out of the market

  • "My computer's crashed again"

  • "The company's relocating to Aberdeen"

Ms Begg said: "This campaign suggests that moving to Aberdeen is as attractive to London workers as a stock market crash.

"It is simply unacceptable that Bupa dental care is promoting its services by demeaning Aberdeen.

Anne Begg
Anne Begg: "Recruitment problems"
Aberdeen, whose nickname is the Granite City because of the traditional stone used in many of its buildings, is also the oil capital of Europe.

For many years, house prices have been on a par with those in parts of London as the oil industry inflates earnings across the north-east of Scotland.

Miss Begg went on: "It is erroneous images such as this that reinforce the idea that Aberdeen is an unattractive place to live and work.

Aberdeen skyline
The Aberdeen skyline
"As someone who commutes from Aberdeen to London every week, I know that Aberdeen scores much more highly than London in terms of air quality and traffic congestion."

She said that the advert reinforced the prejudice which made it "extremely difficult" for many of Aberdeen's institutions to recruit skilled staff.

The MP pointed out it was ironic that dental medicine was one of the areas which suffer from the most serious recruitment problems.

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