Glasgow City Council has now approved two new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) schemes – the Innovative Districts Support Programme (under the supporting local business theme) and the Net Zero Neighbourhoods project (under the communities and place theme).

There are three themes for the UKSPF – supporting local business; communities and place; and people and skills. Glasgow is to benefit from £26.1million of UKSPF support over the three financial years of 2022/23 – 2024/25.

The Glasgow City Region (GCR) – alongside Greater Manchester and the West Midlands – received one-third of £100million for an Innovation Accelerator Pilot. The city region programme for this Pilot features 11 projects, assessed by an industry-led partnership and Innovative UK and identified as being from key sectors which represent areas of local strength.

The recent council decision means that £1.08million in UKSPF support will be given to the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde in 2024/25 for their work in the Glasgow Riverside Innovation District and the Glasgow City Innovation District, in addition to the core funding the council already provides for these districts.

This funding will support innovation activity that follows on from the £33million Innovation Accelerator Pilot investment.

A further £125,000 UKSPF investment will be made in the Net Zero Neighbourhoods project, which will pilot a new governance and finance model for street-by-street and place-based housing retrofit.

This project aligns with the work of Sustainable Glasgow in developing analysis of decarbonisation through the Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategy and will benefit from the council’s partnership with the Connected Places Catapult, host of the Cities Climate Investment Commission, a legacy of COP26 where Glasgow plays a key role in working with other cities to engage with national government on the climate finance agenda.

In addition, a recent council committee approved three direct grants to support the following elements of the GCR Investment Plan in Glasgow:

· Re-align the Business Support programmes to assist the GCR collaborative approach to delivering the EXTEND programme, providing carbon baseline reports to businesses;

· Move forward the incubation and acceleration element of the Ecosystem Growth programme, building on the work undertaken as part of the development of the GCR Innovation Action Plan; and

· Re-distribute Multiply underspend to support Phase Two of the Step Up to Net Zero programme.

Analysis of the Business Support programmes has allowed over £231,000 UKSPF support to be re-directed to the EXTEND programme to deliver carbon baseline reports to 308 businesses in Glasgow. This activity will help deliver Glasgow’s Net Zero objectives, support the ambitions of the GCR Economic Strategy, and help businesses access further green business support and grant funding.

The Ecosystem Growth programme supports business incubation and acceleration, and £257,000 in UKSPF support is to be awarded to the Smart Things Accelerator Centre (STAC) – based in Glasgow’s Skypark – to support entrepreneurs and SMEs in the Internet of Things field, supporting capacity and resilience and make Glasgow a leading city in this key sector for economic growth. This award will secure a long-term strategic partnership between the council and STAC, which will see collaboration on the local technology and innovation strategy to identify and realise opportunities for the city.

The first phase of the Step Up to Net Zero programme was successfully delivered by the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, assisting businesses in the adoption of circular economy principles and practices. Underspend in the Multiply programme will now be redirected to the second phase of Step Up to Net Zero, with £585,000 of UKSPF support allowing the participation of a further 30 city business and extend work placements from four to six months.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “These awards will benefit the city’s economy in a number of ways. This funding will support and develop businesses in sectors key to our future economic growth, drive research into how best to retrofit our homes and allow more businesses to gain from adopting the principles of the circular economy.