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January 2021 Director's Blog - City Deal

January 2021 Director's Blog

Big ambitions for Glasgow City Region remain undimmed by Covid

Looking at the year ahead of us, challenging times are undoubtedly set to continue. However, we have a strong economic recovery plan in place and one which is Green. We will continue to drive forward our big ambitions for Glasgow City Region. And we have much to look forward to in the coming months. 

In December I confirmed our commitment to the revised City Deal Programme Plan for vital UK and Scottish government infrastructure funding at a crucial time when we need to protect the economy. This year we expect to see considerable progress across City Deal projects including the iconic bridge over the M8 at Sighthill, at Motherwell town centre and in Renfrewshire on the Clyde Waterfront project.

With local businesses benefiting from over £100 million worth of City Deal contracts to date, you can appreciate how important the City Deal is for our economy.

Our ambitions for the City Region are undimmed by Covid.

We want to see the River Clyde - the greatest untapped development opportunity in Western Europe - brought back into productive use. We want to see the development of a new metro system linking the south west of the City Region, including Glasgow Airport and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and we want to see growth in those sectors which will be at the forefront of economic recovery.

The build for the new Barclays campus - by far the most significant inward investment ever made in Scotland - is still set to complete this year. Not only will this bring 2,500 new jobs, but it will breathe new life into an area south of the river which despite its proximity to the city centre and the International Financial Services District, has suffered through de-industrialisation with the loss of much of its population and economic base.  Barclays flagship campus will make the bank one of the city's biggest commercial employers. Work will improve Place quality in the area and is complemented by City Deal projects along the banks of the river.

Just this week, we announced the creation of a major new film and television studio in the Kelvin Hall. A £11.9million production facility will be established through a retrofit of an existing building and will deliver a huge boost to the city's dynamic screen and creative sectors.

We have more plans for large scale investment in the coming months. Covid has impacted us - but it won't stop us.

This year we will publish the Regional Climate Adaption Strategy and in the next few months launch a Forestry and Woodland Strategy, the first in Scotland, which will help to dramatically increase the number of trees in Glasgow City Region, boost our greenspace and support plans for carbon neutrality.  And of course we will be hosting COP26 in November.  

Our Intelligence Hub has launched the first of our Regional Economic bulletins. This first issue focuses on Place and Covid-19 and includes contributions from four external experts who provide thoughts on prospects for housing, commercial property, and the high street. The bulletins will be issued on a quarterly basis and will focus on recent data and a key theme impacting our economy. You can view the latest issue here

Next month, we'll provide an update to Cabinet on progress with the Green Housing Retrofit programme. Cabinet will also consider our new strategy for Procurement and Community Benefits and hear about plans for a Regional procurement event where we will reveal information on procurement pipelines for the next few years.  We will also be publishing the latest update on the economic health of the Region which sets out our challenges and emerging priorities.

You may have seen recent media coverage of our plans in the Scotsman and in Scottish Construction.

Kevin Rush is Director of Regional Economic Growth at Glasgow City Region

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