EIGHT Scottish councils today launched an ambitious joint economic action plan, kick-starting an unprecedented long-term collaboration on jobs, skills and inclusive growth.
The move, a first in Scotland, will see authorities across the Glasgow City Region pursue a common economic strategy between now and the year 2035.
Working together, the group is targeting 100,000 extra jobs; 6,500 new businesses, and big improvements in qualifications, training and skills.
Councils also aim to bring thousands of hectares of vacant and derelict land into use and support the building of 110,000 new homes across the region.
Authorities across the city region formally agreed the joint strategy and action plan today, before presenting details to business and education leaders at a networking event at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s centre for design and architecture.
Chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet and Leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Frank McAveety said: “The Glasgow City Region is already the powerhouse of the Scottish economy – but, as council leaders, we are absolutely united in our determination to aim higher on jobs, skills and growth that benefits every community.
“This strategy and action plan represents a step-change in our approach.
“We are collaborating more closely than ever before and want to extend that strong, open partnership to the Scottish and UK Governments, the business community and other agencies, such as our colleges and universities.
“Only by working together will we build a more resilient and dynamic city region that delivers homes and jobs for a skilled workforce and prosperity for all its people.”
Councils share vision for jobs, skills and inclusive growth – Glasgow City Council
However, the new project builds on and extends that collaboration – with authorities working more closely than ever before.
This means not only committing to a shared strategy, but agreeing to joint decision-making; integrated service delivery, and aligning resources to avoid duplication.
The plan identifies key priorities for the region’s economy; along with 50 specific actions, both short and long-term, to deliver them.
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “I welcome the publication of the Glasgow City Region Economic Strategy and Action Plan. It is encouraging to see city region partners working collaboratively with each other and government to achieve positive regional and national economic outcomes.
“The Scottish Government is investing £500 million over the lifespan of the deal and we are fully committed to working closely with city region partners to maximise the opportunities created through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.”
UK Minister for Scotland Andrew Dunlop said: “The Glasgow City Deal is an ambitious plan to maximise the economic potential of the region, boosting the economy and creating jobs.
“We are pleased that every city in Scotland is on course to have their own UK City Deal. They are a great example of the UK Government working collaboratively with partners to deliver real change.”
The new Regional Economic Strategy and Action Plan can be downloaded at http://www.glasgowcityregion.co.uk/
Today’s launch was addressed by the Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Stuart Patrick, and Chair of the Glasgow City Region Economic Leadership Board, Lord Haughey.
Stuart Patrick said: “This new Regional Economic Strategy reflects the rising importance of city regions across the world. It matters to Scotland’s economy that Glasgow City Region is prosperous, growing and ambitious for the future.
“This document is strong evidence of the influence that Glasgow City Region City Deal is having on bringing the region’s local authorities together to tackle the issues that will help our economy succeed.
“We welcome many aspects of the action plan including the drive to increase productivity through investment in infrastructure, innovation and exporting, to tackle skills gaps and to continue the growth of the region’s population.
“Twenty years on from the most difficult phase of Glasgow’s economic history, the city region economy is robust and diverse with world class performance in advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, digital technology and the creative industries. The action plan shows that Glasgow can look forward with confidence.”
Lord Haughey said: “This is an ambitious long term strategy that will help to drive economic growth and create thousands of jobs in the City Region.
“I warmly welcome the strong emphasis on partnership working between the councils, government, universities and business. As Chair of the Glasgow City Region Economic Leadership Board I know that the business community in the City Region is ready to play its part.
“The Action Plan sets out a clear ambition across the region to create thousands of jobs, increase the business base, and provide support to entrepreneurs and start-ups to help them develop and succeed. I look forward to working with all partners to grow our regional economy.”