Councillor Gordon Matheson, Commission on the Future of Local Government and Leader of Glasgow City Council said:
As the Leader of Glasgow City Council, one of the three UK local authorities directly participating in the Commission on the Future of Local Government, I am delighted to have this opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences on how this city is tackling the challenges of rebalancing our economy and promoting growth.
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and is the heart of its only conurbation with a population of 1.2 million, and out with London, is one of the largest concentrations of economic activity in the UK.
For many years Glasgow’s stock-in-trade has been partnership working in the recognition that Glasgow works best when we all work together, One Glasgow. Glasgow has a proud history of developing its strategic capacity and working closely with the private sector. Glasgow Action, for example, was the UK’s first business leadership coalition. Glasgow has always been a city of opportunity, ambition and strong public/private partnership, qualities which are at the heart of our new governance structure, Glasgow Economic Leadership.
Glasgow Economic Leadership emerged from the recommendations of our independent, private sector-led Economic Commission which published its findings and recommendations in July 2011 (www.glasgoweconomicfacts.com). In total there were 29 separate recommendations but, critically, one of the first to be acted upon was the establishment of a new private-public leadership body which will focus economic development efforts in Glasgow, deliver on the city’s economic potential and ensure that Glasgow is “open for business”. I am delighted to be a member of the new Glasgow Economic Leadership and to work with some inspiring colleagues from Glasgow’s private sector including the very top executives of some truly global businesses.
Furthermore, the Commission recommended that the private sector be fully engaged at senior level to lead on the development of sector action plans for each of the sectors identified as providing Glasgow with the best opportunities to grow wealth and employment in the future.
Successful, recent examples of how the Council has been working with our private sector include the Commonwealth Initiatives, motivated by Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014:
- The Commonwealth Jobs Fund. Through this, the Council funds 50% of a full-time salary for each newly-created job offered to an unemployed young person.
- The Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative which has seen the private sector take on more than 1800 apprentices over the last two years or so. This aspect of partnership has gone from strength to strength. In November 2011, the Council secured a pledge of £2 million from the private sector to support a further 100 construction apprentices over the next year, targeting small and medium sized enterprises.
- Youth Enterprise Zones, where we bring together mentoring, business start-up advice, training and support, and micro-finance, as well as
- The Commonwealth Graduate Fund which will provide Glasgow City Council funding for 1000 new graduate jobs in the city. Launched in November 2011, the Council is investing £10 million to provide 50% wage subsidy to employers for every new job created in the city’s private or third sector.
The creation of wealth and employment is a key issue in Glasgow where unemployment and more acutely, worklessness, is still far too high. Our aim is, therefore, to both grow the city economy and get more Glaswegians engaged and employed in the city’s growth engine and effective partnership is fundamental to ensuring this goal is realised.