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10 reasons why Glasgow is an Economic Powerhouse

10 reasons why Glasgow is an Economic Powerhouse

Launched at State of the City Economy conference 2015 was our document outlining the 10 reasons why Glasgow is an Economic Powerhouse.

If you weren't able to get your hands on one, we've provided an outline below.

1. Glasgow has economic size and size matters.

A big city offers a bigger market and a larger labour force for business to work with. Of course there are several definitions of a city and here we are looking at Greater Glasgow of some 1.7m people, not just the central City of Glasgow some 600,000 (General Register Office for Scotland) .We are the fourth largest city in the UK (Centre for Cities), and outside of the global cities of London and Paris we are in the top 30 largest cities in Europe (Eurostat) . That puts us ahead of cities like Lyons, Amsterdam, Helsinki and Dusseldorf and just behind Cologne, Brussels, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Glasgow contributes 32% of Scottish economic output, 35% of its jobs and 36% of its exports (Slims consulting).

2. Glasgow is a bright city

A high share of our population has a minimum of a graduate level qualification. The Centre for Cities ranked Glasgow second only to London in the top ten large UK cities for the people's skills .With Liverpool having 23% of its population at graduate level, Birmingham 26%, Manchester33% and Glasgow 41% (Centre for Cities), the 'giant sucking sound' of London just isn't as influential in Scotland or in Glasgow. Skills is by far the most important reason for businesse schoosing a place to invest and in that regard Glasgow is well placed.

3. Glasgow has a strong track record of co-ordinated, ambitious leadership

This is a difficult asset to create as it depends on trust relationships and tacit knowledge. A city where government, academia and business - the triple helix - find it relatively easy to work together is one with an asset others find really difficult to replicate. What proves that we have the asset? The Commonwealth Games bidding and delivery is one of course. But amongst relatively recent examples would be the recent securing of a £1.13bn City Deal for Glasgow requiring active support from 8 local authorities, Glasgow's universities and the city business community. We also have the Glasgow Economic Leadership board chaired by Professor Sir Jim McDonald bringing the triple helix together to champion an economic strategy for Glasgow and encourage the delivery of an investment agenda set out by the city's 2011 Glasgow Economic Commission. But you need a thick, fairly complex patternof interaction and engagement and Glasgow has that.

4. Glasgow has a diverse economy

Our economy suffered 3 decades ago from an overreliance on heavy engineering and its final collapse is what shaped the need for a regeneration strategy in the first place. Glasgow is no longer a one industry town.
The Glasgow Economic Commission identified at least 6 sectors where lasgow has a distinctive asset base and where overseas trading opportunities have real potential for growth; low carbon industries, financial and business services, life sciences, engineering, tourism and education.

But we also have whisky. The distilleries may be in Speyside and the Islands but 80% of the

industry bottling is done in Glasgow (Ian Curle CEO Edrington Group at Glasgow Talks event)meaning that about 35 bottles per second (Scotch Whisky Association) are sent across the world from Glasgow and major companies like Diageo, Pernod Ricard, William Grant and Edrington have headquarters or major facilities in the city. And we are the media hub of Scotland and a world leading centre of ship management.

5. Glasgow is the renewables capital of Scotland

There are 5,000 people working in the energy sector in Glasgow (Glasgow City Council) with giants like Scottish Power- currently building their new HQ at Charing Cross - and SSE both prominent.

There are 2,100 jobs associated with renewable energy which makes Glasgow the biggest concentration of renewables work in Scotland (O'Herlihy & Co. Ltd). Offshore and onshore wind feature strongly. The research presence in Glasgow is especially strong in the International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone next to the University of Strathclyde housing the UK's Offshore Renewables Catapult and the UK's Technology Strategy Board Future Cities Demonstrator . Strathclyde's Power Demonstration Centre and the addition of the All Energy Conference in Glasgow for the 3 years from 2015 add further assets.

6. Glasgow is a thriving financial and business services centre

Financial and business services made the biggest contribution to Glasgow's growth in the first decade of the 21st century taking Glasgow up to 74th in the list of world financial centres (Global Financial Centres Index 15) and making Glasgow's private sector one of the fastest growing in large UK cities.

There are 52,000 F&BS jobs in the City of Glasgow (Glasgow City Council) with 15,000 net new jobs (IFSD) created in the International Financial Services District during its first ten years of operation. Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, RBS, Esure, Barclays Wealth, Santander, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Shell , Tesco Bank and many others all have significant presences. The growth of F&BS has kept the property market in the city bubbling with 4 new office projects totalling £210m of investment and 500,000 square feet of space in development (Glasgow City Council).

7. Glasgow has a large and distinctive life sciences industry

From BioCity Scotland in Newhouse through the West of Scotland Science Park and the new South Glasgow hospital complex to GlaxoSmithKline's facilities and enterprise zone in Irvine, the Glasgow BioCorridor has some internationally significant strengths in stratified medicine, medical devices and industrial biotechnology. At the University of Strathclyde we have Industrial Biotechnology Centre and the Institute of Medical Devices.

36% of Scotland's life sciences companies including 50% of our medical devices companies are based in the Glasgow city region (Glasgow City Council). 22,000 students are currently studying life science topics (Glasgow City Council).South Glasgow hospital when it opens in 2015 will be one of the most advanced and largest of critical care hospitals in the UK bringing together clinical practitioners, academic researchers and business on the one site. It will house amongst many facilities the Stratified Medicine  Scotland Innovation Centre led by the University of Glasgow and exploiting Scotland's unique assets in commercial and non-commercial clinical trials.

8. Our engineering sector is right back at the heart of Glasgow's economy

We are a city of engineers with an estimated 10,000 professional engineers operating in the city (Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde and Chair of the Glasgow Economic Leadership at Presidents Club event). Glasgow makes the single biggest contribution to Scotland's manufacturing economy with 800 manufacturing units employing around 20,000 people (Glasgow City Council) . We have powerful companies trading all across the globe and present in the city including the the Weir Group, Aggreko, Howden, Babcock Doosan, Thales, Bae Systems, Clyde Blowers, and many many more.

There are 9,000 students in engineering, technology or computer science disciplines (Glasgow City Council) . We have a host of research centres of excellence including the Advanced Forming Research Centre, the Innovation Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems, the UK's first Fraunhofer facility in the Centre for Applied Photonics. And the University of Strathclyde has been appointed a strategic partner to the UK's National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Glasgow is set to be the UK's sole centre for advanced warship building at Bae Systems' Clyde yards.

9. We have a world class education business

With 3 colleges and 5 higher education institutions in just the City of Glasgow alone we have 130,000 students currently enrolled (Glasgow City Council).  Together these bodies give Glasgow a highly distinctive mix of educational offers. City of Glasgow college is the largest in Scotland currently investing £228m in a new college to house 40,000 students alone. Our oldest university at Glasgow, is the 51st in the world with demonstrable skills in accounting and finance, cancer studies, cardiovascular medicine, engineering and dentistry.  

The University of Strathclyde - the UK's University of the Year 2012 and the Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2013 - similarly has a full range of distinctive strengths including a triple  accredited Business School ( 1 of only 55 in the world), biosciences and a world class engineering track record now becoming physically manifest in the £89m Technology and Innovation Centre which will also involve the co-location of business and academic research on George Street.

We have Glasgow Caledonian University - a clear leader in inclusive learning with campuses in London and New York and strengths in many practical disciplines in allied health research and in the built and natural environment.

We have national jewels in the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire.

These institutions provide fundamental support to the growth of all the industries in Glasgow's portfolio but they are businesses in their own right profitably attracting over 12,500 overseas students to the city.

10. Our tourism industry is robust and with great growth potential

Clearly the Commonwealth Games, the MTV awards in 2014 and the World Gymnastics in 2015 are all helping Glasgow present afresh the attractions of the city as a visitor destination. Glasgow City Marketing Bureau is the UK's Best Convention Bureau and has been for the past 8 years.

Glasgow attracted 2.3 million visitors spending £495m (Glasgow City Council) and is the 6th most visited city in the UK by overseas visitors with the US and Germany being the top markets. Hotel occupancy for the city's 11,400 rooms in 2013 was 78.5% beating cities like Hamburg, Amsterdam and Barcelona.

Glasgow is consistently the second centre of retail in the UK after London.

Glasgow has a thriving conference business with 560 conferences in 2013/14 attracting nearly500,000 delegates and £136m of economic value. 40% of delegates come from overseasespecially in the life sciences and medical disciplines (Glasgow City Council).

Glasgow Airport is Scotland's long haul hub airport accommodating Emirates, United, US Airways, BA and Virgin Atlantic with some 7.4m passengers growing healthily over the past year by 3.2% for international and 2.5% for domestic traffic (Glasgow Airport).

Glasgow Central Station is Scotland's busiest railway station and the second busiest outside London in the UK. The Riverside Museum was European Museum of the Year in 2013 and the SSE Hydro has quickly become the third most visited music concert venue in the world. Glasgow is a top ten sporting city.