Planning for growth

Gordon Matheson.
Gordon Matheson.

THE leader of Glasgow city council has announced a three-prong plan for the city’s economic success beyond recession.

In his speech to the 15th City Economy Conference, councillor Gordon Matheson laid out the plans which he claimed would support the public sector and bring new job opportunities for Glaswegians.

The Glasgow Veterans Employment programme promises a council-backed wage subsidy to companies who take on unemployed personnel from the armed forces.

It has been described as the most comprehensive package of support offered to veterans anywhere in Britain.

There is also the £1.5 million Glasgow New Business fund which has been set up to help new-start small to medium enterprises to access affordable business premises.

The council will also support the Green Champions scheme, announced by businessman sir Willie Haughey recently.

This initiative will see young people given employment within large companies to increase their energy efficiency.

This will make Glasgow city council the first local authority in the UK to sign up by employing 20 Green Champions.

Councillor Matheson told the conference: “I have a responsibility to ensure that, as a city, we are best placed to respond to the opportunities that arise – not only today, but in the future.

“The decisions we take today will determine what Glasgow looks like in 10 or 15 years.

“I am absolutely clear that Glasgow must be positioned at the front of the queue to benefit from the opportunities of economic recovery”.

Councillor Matheson said Glasgow was bucking the trend with the most recent figures for Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants in Glasgow showing a decrease, and between August 2010 and August 2012, Glasgow was the only major UK city where youth unemployment actually fell.

He also used the speech to reiterate the council’s support for the city’s construction industry which he said over the last decade had been at the heart of the regeneration and transformation of Glasgow.

He added: “Glasgow’s capital programme is running at a record level of £392million.

“Budgets are tight, but by delivering the pledges in our manifesto, we will almost double this capital programme.

“We were elected on a manifesto pledge to build 3,500 new homes in the city over the next five years.

“We also pledged to rebuild or refurbish every primary school in the city.

“Not only will this benefit children across Glasgow, this major capital investment will provide significant benefits to the local economy”.