Kevin Rush, Director of Regional Economic Growth, Glasgow City Region City Deal outlines progress being made and how the City Deal is stimulating further growth and investment.
Glasgow City Region is one of the largest in the UK, with a population of 1.8 million. Our economy generates over £40 billion per annum, 42% of our residents are educated to degree level and unemployment is at its lowest since records began. Having learned the lessons from previous recessions, we have developed a broad based, resilient economy which has continued to grow through challenging macroeconomic times. Our economic performance has been remarkable.
Yet that growth hasn’t been shared by all of our citizens. The £1 billion City Deal, funded by the UK and Scottish Governments, has given us the opportunity to further growth and share this prosperity with everyone in the wider region.
Our City Deal continues to make significant progress and to provide a genuine boost to the Region’s economy. Thousands of jobs are being created through employment schemes and construction work underway. Local companies are benefitting from contract opportunities and new business support initiatives. Infrastructure projects focused on improving connectivity and land remediation are already drawing further funding and investment into the region.
We talk about the City Deal levering in over £3 billion of private sector investment over 20 years. Already we are seeing this happen, with new housing, retail and industrial developments arising from the City Deal funded improvements to transport connections and land remediation. And recent high profile announcements such as Barclays are demonstrating a real confidence in the City Region – the most significant inward investment ever made in Glasgow, with a new build campus set to bring 2,500 new jobs and breathe life into an area south of the river.
We are delivering projects at pace. Of our 27 projects, seven have been completed already, with substantial progress made on projects already underway. Residents are seeing this City Deal investment on the ground, with new roads, bridges, remediation and public realm works visibly transforming our social and physical landscape, unlocking vacant sites in key locations and opening up opportunities for new housing, retail and commercial development.
The year ahead will be hugely exciting. Our newly established Regional Partnership brings together national agencies, the governments and the private, academic and third sectors. Together we can drive forward an economy fit for the future and explore every opportunity to maximise benefits and life opportunities for our residents and transform the powerhouse of the Scottish economy. A number of iconic City Deal projects will move forward including the first road opening bridge over the Clyde and a new berthing facility and visitor centre at Greenock which will boost tourism, helping to support a target of over 150,000 passengers passing through Greenock’s new Ocean Terminal yearly, delivering £26 million in annual visitor spend to the economy. Work will begin on Renfrewshire’s Glasgow Airport Investment Area project – delivering the infrastructure and environmental improvements underpinning the development of a 150-acre investment area. The investment area will be at the centre of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS), home to two new, national innovation centres – the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC).
At Sighthill in Glasgow, City Deal investment will help to re-connect an area equivalent in size to 60 football pitches to the near-by city centre and open up the North of the city for growth. Extensive remediation will enable hundreds of new homes to be completed. And work will start soon on an iconic pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the M8 motorway, bridging physical barriers between people and place.
Our success to date has been significant and while no doubt there will be challenges ahead, we are confident we will continue to do even better.