International Financial Services District Glasgow

– in the Scottish Parliament on 20 April 2023.

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Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

1. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it has taken to support the development and expansion of Glasgow’s international financial services district in the past year. (S6O-02124)

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

Glasgow’s international financial services district is driven by a partnership between the public and private sectors. Since its launch, more than £1 billion of investment has been secured, of which more than 90 per cent is from the private sector, bringing more than 15,500 jobs to the area so far.

In December 2022, Scottish Enterprise completed the purchase of a key development site to facilitate continued investment on the Broomielaw. Through an agreed master plan and the continuation of work in partnership with the private sector, that will expand the district west of the current boundary and will unlock even more opportunities for the district.

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

I thank the minister for that thorough answer. Barclays bank decided to invest in Glasgow in 2018, and JP Morgan agreed to expand and become tenants of the new office in Argyle Street in 2019, but there does not appear to have been much progress since then. In November last year, Avison Young reported that, of the 655,000 square feet of development under construction in Glasgow, only 55 per cent had been pre-let or pre-sold. There is a concern that Glasgow remains low in that regard compared with pre-Covid levels.

What is important is that prospective occupiers are looking for grade A office space, so will the minister outline how a pipeline of grade A office space is being ensured? What specific inward investment pitches have been made to investors over the past year? How many notes of interest have been submitted? If he cannot give me an answer today, I would appreciate a follow-up response, if possible.

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

I am happy to follow up on the member’s questions in writing after question time as, quite rightly, she seeks a lot of detail.

Since the launch of the financial district, more than 15,000 jobs have moved into it through new investment, expansion or diversified development. The district is playing a big role as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Broomielaw and the west city centre area. This year alone, there have been many new investments, which are bringing more new jobs to the area from a number of companies. I think that I am right in saying that several dozen fintech companies are now based in the city.

Glasgow is forging an impressive reputation as an international financial centre. I am keen to support that, as are my colleagues in the Scottish Government, and I will be happy to write to Pauline McNeill about the action that has been taken.