25 Jun 2020
The latest meeting of the Chamber’s Glasgow Business Resilience Council took place this week, with 26 members participating virtually.
Continued priorities for the GBRC include education and workforce impact, opportunities to catch up with the rest of the UK as restrictions each, return to work guidance, Northshoring opportunities and innovative investment to mitigate shortage of grade A office space.
Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick updated on the Chamber’s recent activity with regards to the ease of lockdown and what the Chamber is doing to assist members and businesses.
The Chamber has called for an extension of the Job Retention Scheme, as Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK in terms of the lifting of lockdown restrictions following the UK Government update to move to 1m social distancing and allowing additional businesses to reopen in England.
In addition, the Chamber is also continuing engagement with the city centre and City Services team on reopening and positive messaging to attract consumers.
Stuart highlighted the generally positive response to Benny Higgins’ Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) report and is keen to understand detail, including how to reshape relationship between business and government.
He is also interested in understanding views and details on localised lockdowns including tailored support for businesses forced to close. The Chamber is currently engaged in post COVID19 scenario planning with Strathclyde Business School.
Sharon Thomson, assistant head of economic development at Glasgow City Council, provided an update on the work of the Glasgow Economic Recovery Group. She said the remit provides strategic advice to support Glasgow’s response and recovery. With guidance drawn from existing structures, including the Glasgow Economic Leadership, Glasgow Partnership for Economic Growth and city region structures.
She said the priorities for the Council were labour market interventions, supporting key sectors, kickstarting the economy (Mission Clyde, SEC, Glasgow Metro) and inclusive growth. In order to achieve this, it will implement a development plan of priority projects and programmes from its AGER submission, highlight regular communications with positive news stories and continue with scenario planning and peer cities review.
Ross Nimmo, head of planning and development at Glasgow Airport, provided an update on the Glasgow Airport response to the AGER. He said 60% of the aviation sector’s global fleet was grounded as a result of COVID19, with an overall 90% reduction in passenger numbers during lockdown and 50% reduction in passenger travel forecast for 2020.
Glasgow Airport catered to 30,000 passengers daily pre-COVID19, but currently there are roughly 300 a day passing through. He said the airport will continue to operate lifeline services to the Highlands and islands, although the aviation sector is starting to see impacts to jobs at a local level and is looking at the prolonged recovery from this crisis with regards to tourism, trade and business travel.
Glasgow Airport’s submission to the AGER highlighted the direct loss of capacity, experience and aviation related jobs. Also featured were the impacts to global air travel connectivity, progress on decarbonisation of aviation and potential constraints to do more going forward. The priorities for Glasgow Airport are to retain and enhance connectivity, lower carbon emissions, encourage aviation innovation and boost the city’s economic recovery and growth.
The group’s general discussion focused on energising the Team Glasgow approach and the implementation of priority projects, due to the emerging picture of job losses across tourism, leisure, aviation, therefore the development of financial ask is required to save jobs. With the prioritisation of ‘asks’ that can be delivered locally, regionally and with national support agreed.
Members suggested a targeted sectoral support given by the UK Government to drive to get more businesses open as quickly as possible as there is currently an uneven playing field and competitive disadvantage for Scottish businesses.
Although concerns were raised about peripheral routes making economics of aviation and airline attraction more difficult.
Businesses can contact the group via a dedicated email address – email@example.com