Glasgow defined: a business perspective

Cliff Lockyer (Editor), PwC [in Scotland]

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Commerce, trade and business together with education have been the heart of Glasgow over the centuries. Glasgow played a central role in developing Scotland's trans-Atlantic commerce and trade- based economy with the development of the tobacco trade. As the 'second city of the empire' in the late
1800s it was, as Findlay (2011) notes, a central player in the first industrial revolution with its textile, mining, iron and shipping industries. Glasgow's leadership in the manufacture of ships, locomotives and heavy engineering reflected not only a highly skilled workforce, but equally a strong tradition of technological innovation and invention together allied to a strong financial and business services base. Through much of the 20th century Glasgow, along with many other industrial cities, had to confront the problems of industrial change and rising social deprivation and experienced several cycles of decline, renewal and regeneration. However, the traditions of innovation, together with a strong higher education sector, and a vibrant culture and dynamism have enabled Glasgow to change and to renew its economy. Since the 1980s, Glasgow has been rebuilding itself through a series regeneration programmes including: the 'Glasgow Miles Better' campaign, the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival, being European City of Culture in 1990 and, looking forward, hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014. These, together with a series of development strategies, most notably the private-sector led Glasgow Action which led the implementation of a services-led McKinsey strategy from the mid-1980’s to the Joint Economic Strategy of Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise set out in 2006 'Step Change' strategy programme and – even more recently - the creation of the Glasgow Economic Commission and the private sector-led Glasgow Economic Leadership all illustrate the innovation and strength of commitment of civic, business and academic partners to continuing and strengthening Glasgow's economic growth and renewal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-57
Number of pages3
JournalFraser of Allander Economic Commentary
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • regional economic development
  • Glasgow economic performance

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