Derelict Land (Glasgow)

Scottish Executive Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 15th April 2010.

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Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 2:15 pm, 15th April 2010

To ask the Scottish Executive whether the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth has been approached regarding the provision of additional funding to deal with derelict land sites in Glasgow. (S3O-10083)

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

We currently allocate Glasgow £4.5 million per annum from the vacant and derelict land fund. I can confirm that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth has not been approached for additional funding to deal with derelict land sites in Glasgow.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I hope that, if the cabinet secretary were to be approached by Glasgow City Council, he would welcome the opportunity, because the vacant and derelict land fund relates to an agenda that the council and the Government share, which is to do with bringing in areas that have been derelict for a long time. Does the minister accept that utilising those resources would help, given that many of the transformational regeneration areas—including the M74 extension and the Commonwealth games venue development, which are in my constituency—benefit from the vacant and derelict land fund? I hope that he is willing to listen to pleas for further funding.

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

We are always willing to discuss matters of mutual interest with local authorities and others. The vacant and derelict land fund is already contributing £13.5 million to Glasgow over the period 2008 to 2011. We are also working on urban regeneration and have, so far, contributed more than £40 million to the Clyde Gateway urban regeneration company, the town centre regeneration fund and the Clyde waterfront regeneration partnership, for which 75 per cent of the £1.46 billion in funding has come from the private sector. That is a substantial public investment, but we will, of course, continue to work with interests.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

One of the other mechanisms that are being considered to bring in additional funding for developments in Glasgow is tax increment financing, which would stake large amounts of public money on a gamble that retail units will be filled despite the fact that we see retail units lying empty as a result of the economic circumstances of the past few years. Would it not be wildly irresponsible to approve any such tax increment finance requests at this time?

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

That is among a range of ways forward that will be considered when a business case is to hand.