18th State of the City Economy Conference Glasgow 2015

“We cannot say Glasgow is regenerating. Glasgow has now regenerated”.

So, what is next?

On Friday 20th November almost 500 delegates gathered at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow for the 18th Annual State of the City Economy Conference. A truly positive outlook for Glasgow is expected, with a strategy being formulated to accelerate growth and sustain the regeneration that Glasgow has recently achieved.

The figures paint a promising picture. Glasgow is now receiving more tourists than Edinburgh, driving a record number of visitors to Glasgow International Airport (UK Airport of the Year 2015). It is not difficult to see the lasting legacy of the Commonwealth Games and the successful efforts of the subsequent ‘People Make Glasgow’ campaign. Perhaps as a knock-on effect of this, Glasgow has also been named the World’s Friendliest City as voted by Rough Guide.

As Glasgow continues to establish itself as an international financial hub as well as a centre for advanced higher education, the city now boasts an impressive 6 innovation districts. You do not need to look far for evidence of the recent economic growth, with the transformed Finnieston area an outstanding example of this. Once a derelict neighbourhood, Finnieston now bustles with life and this can be partly attributed to the overspill effect of the SSE Hydro located just 5 minutes away.

Mike Blackburn, OBE of BT spoke interestingly about the economic strategy of Manchester. He introduced the notion of smart growth achieved through linkages in integration, environment and prosperity. Mike emphasised the importance of strategic clarity in achieving economic vision, realised through the three pillars of leadership, coherent vision and partnerships. Manchester benefitted from economic growth through embracing innovation, harnessing digital technology and not underestimating the fundamentals of place, productivity and people. Glasgow can adapt Manchester’s economic strategy, formulating a coherent vision based around the principles of smart growth.

Keynote speaker Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council opened with the statement that Glasgow is Scotland’s powerhouse. He noted, interestingly, that in 30 years the number of major hotels in Glasgow has grown from just 4 to over 150 reflecting the recent tourism and business revolution that has graced the city. McAveety houses a vision of a new economic strategy, centred around inward investment for Glasgow companies, investments of £700m by 2025 into better homes for Glasgow citizens and increased employment opportunities. McAveety also expressed a commitment to the provision of living wage employment to encourage social development to mirror this economic growth. Included in the strategy is the notion that Glasgow requires an “evolution in devolution”, with specific powers regionalised to areas with the expertise and/or need, and a health & equality commission will be convened to improve quality of life for Glasgow residents.

It seems a coherent, achievable strategy has been laid out to support Glasgow’s economic future and taking inspiration from success stories such as Manchester can work to validate such objectives. If you are visiting Glasgow in the coming months, be it for business or otherwise, Little’s can manage your transport for the duration of your stay, from city drop-offs to airport transfers. For more information contact our Reservations Executives directly on +44 (0) 141 883 2111 or reservations@littles.co.uk.