Capital infrastructure can help Glasgow ‘overcome’ Brexit challenges
Glasgow City Council has called on the Scottish and UK governments to accelerate City Deal capital infrastructure works and transfer surplus land to the council for major housing building programmes as part of a range of measures to help the city overcome the issues created by Britain leaving the European Union.
Council leader Frank McAveety put forward proposals following the publication of a report commissioned by the local authority into Brexit.
The ‘Brexit and the Glasgow Economy: Impacts, Actions and Asks’ report calls on the Scottish and UK governments to accelerate City Deal capital infrastructure works, principally in relation to the approvals required for enhanced surface access to Glasgow Airport, with other projects accelerated in conjunction with the Scottish Government.
It also urges both governments to transfer surplus land holdings in Glasgow to Glasgow City Council to allow the acceleration of major housing building programmes that will provide a major jobs stimulus and help meet the city’s housing needs.
Produced by Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow Economic Leadership board, and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the report also calls on both governments to promote future economic growth by match funding major gaps caused by the loss of European cash.
Councillor McAveety said: “I believe that Brexit will confront Glasgow with major economic challenges. I also believe these can be overcome if special action is taken by the Scottish and UK governments. If that happens then the problems associated with Brexit can become an opportunity for economic growth and not a threat of crisis.”
Other recommendations for both the Scottish and UK governments to adopt include:
- To match fund to the same level crucial EU structural and investment funds vital to economic growth. This is currently worth £780 million to Scotland between 2014 and 2020.
- More effective collaborations on economic development and skills between the Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government, its agencies and business to support higher levels of competitiveness, innovation and economic growth.
- A commitment to fund beyond 2019/20 the major EU research programme (Horizon 2020) and to clarify the immigration status of EU students for 2017/18. In this regard the Scottish Government’s commitment to continue to fund EU students studying in Glasgow and those about to enrol is welcomed.
- The Scottish Government should introduce a two-year moratorium on non-domestic rates for new build Grade A properties that are not fully let. This would stimulate speculative development at a time when it is most required post-Brexit.
Councillor McAveety added: “Glaswegians are ambitious and hard working. We have never sat back and accepted our fate, we have always helped to create our own opportunities and pushed forward with confidence to ensure our city and its citizens flourish and grow.
“Our confidence in our future resilience is based on facts and today Glasgow has emerged as the fastest growing major city economy in the UK. We are grateful to everyone who helped prepare this report; leading political figures, economics experts and our business community. We know that by working together, we can ensure we grow a stronger city and a brighter future with opportunity for all our citizens to flourish.”
The report has been compiled with the help of more than 100 senior business, local government and academic leaders.
It will now be submitted to the First Minister’s Standing Committee on Europe, led by Professor Anton Muscatelli of the University of Glasgow.
To coincide with the launch of the report a selection of Glasgow’s leading business, local government and academic leaders have shown their commitment to the city by taking part in the #GlasgowisOpenforBusiness campaign and a short film.