CSPP Policy Director Ross Martin is at Holyood’s “Supporting Scotland’s Cities” conference. Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, was the first keynote speaker.
• Cities drive innovation and achieving sustainable economic growth depends on the performance of Scotland’s cities.
• Cities need to build stronger partnerships and work together (public, private and third sector) to make an even bigger impact.
• The Scot Govt will live up to its manifesto promise to: improve infrastructure and connectivity, give cities more freedom, enhance academia and develop city regions.
• Cities are central to the Scot Govt’s economic strategy and capital investment is of vital importance (context: 36% cut in Scotland’s block capital element).
• The delivery model for new capital projects will be NPD, along with Network Rail's funding mechanism.
• Cities need a strategy/action plan/route map to help them to support economic growth.
Six Cities Agenda
• The role of SCDI is to bring strategic leadership, not interfere or assume responsibilities of local government.
• Cities are not homogenous. This is not a one size fits all policy.
• Alignment has to take place between the Six Cities and relevant Scot Govt departments.
• Q1. On the issue of distinctiveness, the Cab Sec emphasised the sectoral specialisms in each city, e.g. gaming in Dundee. But, cities must learn "not to trip over each other" and recognise relative strengths.
• Q2. On the issue of sustainable economic growth, the Cab Sec said we need the proceeds of growth for public spending, but we do need growth to be sustainable (nothing on efficiency or effectiveness).