Scotland’s Agenda For Cities
Cities and their regions are central to driving economic growth and creating a fairer society. They are home to two thirds of our economy and over half our population. Their size and scale creates a dynamic environment for business, innovation and knowledge transfer. That is why I strongly believe that if our cities and regions thrive, all of Scotland benefits.
In 2011 we, commissioned the Agenda for Cities. It outlined our ambition for a Scotland where our cities and their regions power Scotland’s economy for the benefit of all. This ambitious agenda focused on growth and opportunity – concentrating on developing and promoting key assets of our cities and their regions to attract investment, stimulate economic activity and create jobs.
The Agenda established the ground-breaking Scottish Cities Alliance, a collaboration of our cities and the Scottish Government that aims to attract investment and jobs. In parallel, we have delivered innovative and far reaching City Region Deals to Glasgow and Aberdeen, focused on connectivity, innovation and infrastructure.
I am proud of these achievements, but we must not be complacent. I believe there is more that we can and should be doing to support and nurture all our cities and surrounding regions. That is why today we are publishing a refreshed Agenda.
At its heart is the need to boost investment and innovation; support inclusive growth; and maintain our focus on internationalisation.
Boosting Investment and Innovation
The Alliance supports our cities to speak with a powerful and united voice to give impetus to innovation and fresh thinking. In 2015, I launched the £10 billion investment prospectus at MIPIM UK. Later this month, the Alliance will publish a Pitch Book outlining £7.5 billion worth of exciting investor-ready and pipeline opportunities across our cities, which will deliver key projects, leading to skilled workforce development and job creation.
Since we launched the collaboration back in 2011, there has been a 12 per cent increase in Gross Value Added and 7.3 per cent increase in private sector jobs being created in our cities, clearly demonstrating their economic importance.
Our refresh aims to keep this focus on investment and innovative funding to enable our cities to deliver for their citizens and for Scotland as a whole.
Many of our high-growth and internationally-competitive businesses are city based. The most recent EY Attractiveness Survey named Scotland as the most attractive place in the UK to invest outside London. Our cities are central to that success, reflected in the fact that since 2011 the number of businesses and foreign-owned business in our cities increased above the national rate.
We are keen to build on this record and replicate recent international investment successes in Perth and Inverness. To achieve this we will continue to promote trade and investment in our cities and look for opportunities to capitalise on existing EU and global links.
Supporting Inclusive Growth
Embedded in this refresh is the desire to see Scotland’s cities drive inclusive growth. To help achieve that I want to continue the dialogue with citizens and communities that we began at the Cities Convention last November and hear from those groups about their ideas on better approaches to tackling the challenges faced by our cities.
Cllr Andrew Burns, Chair of the Alliance on welcoming the refresh stated;
“Scotland’s cities have a strong story to tell, and collaboratively we are making a significant impact in a very competitive environment. The refresh offers the opportunity to build on our success and explore new ways of working together which will help to unlock the future economic potential of a connected Scotland.”
I couldn’t agree more. Working in partnership has already delivered investment, jobs and innovation for our cities and their regions. We want to build on that success and increase it. Our vision remains “A Scotland where our cities and their regions power Scotland’s economy for the benefit of all.”
Scotland’s Agenda for Cities sends a clear message that we are working in partnership to develop thriving, resilient and innovative cities which are great places to live, work, grow and invest.