A number of positive developments at Glasgow City Region
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Unbelievable that we are in March already.
Our biggest news is of course the recent announcement that proposals for the Metro project are included within Transport Scotland's Strategic Transport Review Phase 1 Recommendations. The Recommendations set out the Scottish Government's priorities for transport investment over the next 20 years and recognise the pressing economic, environmental and social case for a much better-connected City Region.
This is a big step forward and a massive boost for a project which could transform our Region, support thousands of jobs and bring enormous environmental benefits. Work at Glasgow will continue to bring forward a Metro Feasibility Study and Transport Scotland will further appraise the Metro as an investment option, with the Phase 2 report setting out the long-term transport investment priorities to follow in Autumn 2021.
At February's Glasgow City Region Cabinet, an update was provided on the Clyde Mission which is set to provide a big focus for the Region in the year ahead. BBC Online ran an excellent piece a few months ago on the subject and it is worth a read for the useful context it provides. The programme is moving into delivery, and the 12 projects which received funding from the Clyde Catalyst Fund to support capital projects such as construction and physical and environmental improvements was announced late last year, with our member authorities featuring widely among the successful bids.
An update was also heard from the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network team on exciting plans for a Clyde Climate Forest project which will deliver a major increase in tree planting across GCR, with a launch planned in the next few months. This project will support ambitions set out in our new Regional Forestry and Woodland Strategy launched last week.
The Region's new Economic Baseline Report was also presented at Cabinet. Another big milestone for the Region - this vital document will inform much of our priorities in the year ahead, particularly as we shape a refreshed Regional Economic Strategy. The Baseline summarises the key social, economic and place issues we face. Involving an analysis of over 100 different datasets, gathered from a wide range of national sources, it evidences what is happening now. And as the full economic impact of Covid-19 is yet to be understood, it also includes a summary of the current, emerging and possible impacts.
The Region is critical to the success of the Scottish economy, providing almost a third of its employees, businesses and economic productivity. We have many strengths comparative to other UK Core City Regions. We have the City Deal and of course we are establishing as a European region of Innovation. We also have ambitious plans and opportunities for major transformation to elevate our standing.
But we face a number of challenges. The Baseline sets out an evidence base for the Region's key challenges - Inclusive Growth, Climate Emergency and Enhancing Productivity.
It is recognised that the vast majority of UK economic activity takes place in the largest 63 cities and towns, many of these in the north of the UK. As a city and a Region, we are crucial to the growth of the UK economy too. Further investment is required to max up the performance and the potential of our economy.
The Baseline will provide a basis for investment decisions and will form part of our discussions with government on accelerating decisions on key transformational projects and on further funding opportunities for the Region.
You can find the report and the other Cabinet papers here
Finally, you may have seen the recent article about the Region's progress in the Municipal Journal
Kevin Rush is Director of Regional Economic Growth at Glasgow City Region
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