PLANS to reinvigorate Glasgow city centre have been given the green light, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil confirmed today.
Glasgow City Council’s £80m Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme for the Buchanan Quarter, which is expected to unlock £310 million in private investment and create almost 1,500 jobs, has been provisionally approved by the Scottish Government.
Plans include upgrading the Royal Concert Hall, public realm and infrastructure improvement works in George Square and Buchanan Street, strengthening Cathedral Street bridge and improving access to Queen Street station.
George Square will get a boost with the funding Photo:Finlay McWalter
One of the conditions of provisional approval is that Glasgow City Council will put in place an action plan to maximise benefits for other areas in the city not directly included in the Buchannan Quarter TIF project.
Under TIF, local authorities will fund infrastructure by borrowing against future business rate income that should be generated by the resulting regeneration and development.
The Scottish Futures Trust, set up by the Scottish Government to deliver value for money across public sector infrastructure, has spearheaded the development of the TIF model for use in Scotland.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce, CBI Scotland and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry have all voiced their support for the Buchanan Quarter TIF project.
Alex Neil said: “This development will breathe new life into Glasgow underlining its position as one of Europe’s great, vibrant cities.
“Not only will the Buchanan Quarter project unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of private investment and create hundreds of new jobs, it will also bring people flocking into the city centre to enjoy the new facilities.
“Despite Westminster’s swingeing cuts to our budget, the Scottish Government has been resolute in its belief that investing in our infrastructure can help create jobs and stimulate growth in our economy.
“Against a backdrop of limited public finances to assist regeneration, we want to encourage innovative funding models, such as TIF, to help lever in additional private sector investment.
“Across Scotland, it is estimated the pilot phase of TIF could lever in an additional £2.5 billion of private sector investment within Scotland.”
Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), said: “SFT has worked closely with Glasgow City Council supporting the development of its TIF Business Case. When implemented, the TIF project will deliver long-lasting economic benefits and growth for Glasgow.
“Scotland continues to lead the way in the use of TIF to help attract additional investment. Such is the appeal of TIF that for every £1 of public sector money spent; potentially a further £5 can be invested by the private sector – which is crucial for future growth.”