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Glasgow hailed for best inward investment strategy in Europe

GLASGOW has been awarded for having the best inward investment strategy in Europe and taken third spot in a poll of the continent's top 10 large cities.

OUTWARD LOOKING: Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's Stuart Patrick praised the city's skills base for the inward investment success. Picture: Nick Ponty
OUTWARD LOOKING: Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's Stuart Patrick praised the city's skills base for the inward investment success. Picture: Nick Ponty

The city's success, framed by FDI Magazine's European Cities and Regions of the Future for 2014/15 ranking, has been hailed as a triumph for the economic strategy introduced by Glasgow in 2011, underpinned by its skills base, retail sector and further and higher education institutions.

The strategy, overseen by the private and public sectors, was phased in after an independent commission held in 2010 identified five sectors offering the greatest potential for economic growth and job creation.

These include the financial and business services sector, spearheaded by Glasgow's International Financial Services District (IFSD) which has welcomed a net 15,500 new jobs since 2002.

Around 3500 have been added to the sector since the end of 2012, thanks in part to the arrival of KPMG's tax centre of excellence and Ashurst's legal analysis operation.

Glasgow Economic Leadership, the body set up to execute the strategy and chaired by Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde, has also highlighted low carbon industries; life sciences; engineering design and manufacturing; and tourism and events as areas offering growth potential.

Invest Glasgow, a body set up to attract investment to the city, the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, and projects associated with the Commonwealth Games have also been credited with driving investment.

It is understood about £6 billion has been invested by the private and public sectors in Glasgow since 2011 across a range of sectors, highlighting the city's capacity to attract investment in spite of the recession.

Businesses mulling whether to invest in the city have also been able to take advantage of grants in the shape of tier two Regional Selective Assistance (RSA), as well as subsidies available through the Commonwealth apprenticeship and graduate initiatives.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the role played by Scotland's talent pool in the city's inward investment success.

Stating that an "over-supply" of accounts, tax experts and other business graduates had been crucial in attracting investment to Glasgow's IFSD, he said: "If you look at the criteria why inward investment decisions are made, skills are at the top, followed by research capabilities and access to innovate practices.

"That's where the universities in particular are very helpful.

"What the FDI magazine's focus is on is the ability we have had to translate that into a coherent strategy, and that's where the commission has made a difference, in particular the Glasgow Economic Leadership board under Sir Jim [McDonald] at Strathclyde."

Baillie Liz Cameron, executive member for jobs and the economy at Glasgow City Council, said: "These awards underline the progress that has made in Glasgow, as we now have a far more resilient and diverse economy than we did a generation ago.

"Few could have imagined back in the 1970s that Glasgow would be one of the 10 biggest financial centres in Europe, and an IFSD, which would bring more than 15,500 well-paid jobs and £1 billion of outside investment to the city."

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