Council's new measures to help developers

18 Nov 2008

A series of new measures aimed at helping the city's businesses cope with the economic downturn have been announced by Glasgow City Council.

They include the relaxation of development rules, the extension of a fund offering low-cost loans to small and medium-sized companies and a high-level Economic Advisory Board featuring some of the biggest names in Scottish business.

Councillor Steven Purcell, Leader of Glasgow City Council, made the announcement at the 11th State of the City Economy Conference at the Radisson SAS hotel in Glasgow  on Tuesday, 18 November, 2008. The conference was hosted by the Council, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, on behalf of Glasgow Economic Partnership, a new organisation aimed at giving the business community a significant role in the development of the city's economic policies.

Key decision makers from across the city's public and private sectors were told that although the credit crunch and increasing interest rates had contributed to a slowdown in overall development activity, the value of private sector development across the city now totalled £4.3bn - an increase of 2% on the previous year.

Councillor Purcell said the good news was that most of that money was committed and a large number of projects, both in the public and private sectors, were going ahead.  He told the conference: "My main priority is helping business in the city through the economic difficulties ahead. These are tough times. Nobody can predict with any great certainty what the next 12 months will bring, but we know that our economy is going to get worse before it gets better.

"The first thing that all public bodies, including my own Council, must do, is to examine where we can help business by being more flexible and willing to do things differently. This is no time for unnecessary rules and processes; this is a time to do everything we can to help.

"These measures could be the difference between a development going ahead or not, and so may be the difference between someone keeping their job or losing it."

The new measures are:
• An Economic Advisory Board comprising Sir Tom Hunter, Willie Haughey, Jim McColl, Akmal Khushi and Dr Lesley Sawyers.
• More flexibility in the Council's land disposal policy to make it easier for projects to get off the ground.
• Deferring requests for the payments companies have to make to develop sites.
• More flexibility in the way the Council allocates grants for social housing.
• Extension of a Business Investment Fund which offers low-cost loans to small and medium-sized businesses.
• Creation of a £36m Better Glasgow Fund to pay for regeneration projects.
• Free parking in all Council car parks and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport park-and-ride car parks on the last Sunday before Christmas this year.

Announcing the membership of the Economic Advisory Board, Councillor Purcell said: "Everyone in the city is part of a team that must work together to make Glasgow the best city it can be.

  • View of the city from Glasgow Harbour