Post-Brexit report calls on government action to meet challenging times

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A new report on the effects of Brexit on the Glasgow economy has warned of big challenges ahead unless the Scottish and UK governments take specific policy decisions to support the region.

The authors of the report entitled ‘Brexit and the Glasgow Economy: Impacts, Actions and Asks’ calls for bold policies to empower and grow the Glasgow economy to allow Brexit’s economic challenges to be met. It was produced by Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow Economic Leadership board, and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

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 areas the report identifies for attention are:

1) To fund to the same level crucial EU structural and investment, vital for 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 finding of the report will now be submitted to the First Minister’s Standing Committee on Europe, led by Professor Anton Muscatelli of the University of Glasgow.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, chair of the Glasgow Economic Leadership (GEL) and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, added: “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 pro-activity 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.”