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Glasgow City Council

Brexit and the Glasgow Economy: Impacts, Actions and Asks

Published Monday 10th October 2016

A major Brexit report shows Glasgow will face great challenges when the UK leaves the EU. But it argues these can be overcome if the Scottish and UK governments take specific policy decisions to support the city region.

The 'Brexit and the Glasgow Economy: Impacts, Actions and Asks' report published today, Monday 10 October, calls for the Scottish and UK governments to implement bold policies to empower and grow the Glasgow economy to allow Brexit's economic challenges to be met.

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 Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, 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."

The six Glasgow Brexit main asks of the Scottish and UK governments are:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) Both governments should 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.

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) 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.

The report has been compiled with the help of more than 100 senior business, local government and academic leaders including Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde; Amanda McMillan, managing director, Glasgow Airport; Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital; Anne Ledgerwood , Managing Director St Enoch Centre; Professor Julie Brittenden, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Annemarie O'Donnell, Chief Executive, Glasgow City Council; Keith Cochrane, chief executive of The Weir Group; Benny Higgins, chief executive of Tesco Bank; Frank Mitchell, chief executive, Scottish Power Energy Networks and David Tudor, vice president pharma operations at GlaxoSmithKline.

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.

Councillor McAveety, continued: "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."

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, chair of the Glasgow Economic Leadership (GEL) and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, says: "There is no doubt that Brexit is a fundamental system shock and one that poses challenges to us all.

"However, Glasgow is well used to challenge, indeed, agility and proactivity are woven into the city's history; one of recurrent challenge and successful response.

"We will now position our city to meet the challenges of Brexit and exploit longer term opportunities to grow our economy. We will continue to work collaboratively with the Scottish and UK governments and their agencies. GEL's clear focus is to maximise investment in our key sectors, businesses, infrastructure and people.

"Only by working together can we boost our economic fundamentals: our skills, innovation and entrepreneurship. It is on these foundations that our future will and must be based."

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, says: "In order to take advantage of the new world as it exists in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and to seize the opportunities that will be presented to us, a clear, collective, coherent and forward looking approach from the City of Glasgow and from the Scottish and UK governments is required.

"We cannot do this alone and whilst uncertainly continues around our future trading relationship with the EU we must combine all our efforts now to secure investment and jobs and to boost trade.

"The Glasgow economy is robust, dynamic and multi-faceted and well placed to take advantage of what is soon to come. There are clear challenges that lie ahead but to take full advantage of the opportunities that will arise and help smooth over the inevitable bumps along the way, we must work together and we must act quickly."

Published Monday 10th October 2016

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