17 Nov 2020
The first meeting has taken place of the Glasgow City Centre Taskforce (CCTF), a new body set up to tackle the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic heart of the city region.
In September, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Stuart Patrick presented a paper to the Glasgow Economic Recovery Group outlining the case for additional and targeted city centre recovery support. The paper was approved and the CCTF held its first meeting last week co-chaired by Councillor Angus Millar and Stuart Patrick.
The core objectives are to:
A steering group is made up of senior staff from the City Council, led by chief executive Annemarie O’Donnell, with private sector representation from retail, commercial property, hotels, the night-time economy and public transport sectors and the involvement of the Scottish Government.
Amongst the CCTF’s early priorities is to develop an Action Plan for the period until Christmas 2021 and to initiate a “lessons learned” assessment aimed at helping to future-proof Glasgow against further pandemic lockdowns and other such restrictions which negatively impact the city’s economy and the lives of its citizens.
Amongst the issues to be considered for the Plan are targeted business support including for the night-time economy and retail, business engagement in recovery planning, access and transport links and creation of a joined-up campaign to encourage access to the city centre.
Councillor Angus Millar said:
“The ongoing impact of COVID-19 has created new challenges for Glasgow’s city centre and exacerbated existing pressures. It is important that we are able to bring together key voices from the public and private sectors as we seek to respond to the immediate issues and develop a renewed longer-term strategic vision for the city centre. It was in recognition of the city centre’s importance to Glasgow’s economic success that the establishment of a City Centre Taskforce was a key recommendation of the Glasgow Economic Recovery Group when it convened this year, and I am pleased that we are now able to take this work forward. The Taskforce will develop proposals for actions that will help the city centre both during the pandemic and in the future and provide a voice to ensure that we provide and receive the resources that we need to support its recovery and future growth.”
Glasgow Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick said:
“Glasgow City Centre is the economic hub of the city region and city centres in general have been particularly badly hit by this economic and social crisis given the volume of footfall and consumption-reliant businesses. Key issues include lack of the usual footfall from office workers, students, visitors, shoppers, diminishing financial support for those businesses unable to open such as non-essential offices and nightclubs, and city centre operations to support business restart.
We are in what would usually be the Golden Quarter for retail and consumption businesses, accounting for the majority of profit generated for the year. After being in full shutdown for over 3 months, this final quarter is even more important for business survival. New tiered lockdowns and, particularly with restrictions on travel between local authority areas, make this even more challenging.
“The City Centre Task Force brings together key people from the public and private sector and I’m confident that it will start the process of tackling these pressing issues for the city and its economy.”