Unity call

Glasgow can be economic superpower says Brown

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: huge opportunities (pic: Terry Murden)

Cities like Glasgow could become economic “superpowers” if governments worked together to create clusters around the industries of the future, according to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The former Labour leader urged greater unity to build on positives that can help the UK and its citizens prosper rather than focus on the issues that cause division.

Speaking at a conference in Glasgow he urged the UK and Scottish ministers to create a precision medicine academy to capitalise on the growing industry. Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is already home to an innovation centre and laboratory.

“As a country, we are divided on so many things, whether it’s culture or whether it’s about how to respond to the present inflationary crisis,” said Mr Brown.

“We are divided on the constitutional question but we can all unite around the mission to make Glasgow and Scotland one of the big centres for a new cluster that could change the lives of millions medically, but also create some of the best new jobs of the future. And most of all, we can give people hope.

“We do think there are huge opportunities for clusters of economic activity to be successful in this area and across Scotland.

“Glasgow has got all of the attributes that could make it a world-leading centre in precision medicine, just as in the 20th century it led the world in shipbuilding, and at the same time, we can deal with some of the huge challenges we face.”

His comments follow a report by the Our Scottish Future think tank, founded by Mr Brown, which calls for more devolution of powers.

The report published said “the road out of the current economic and inflationary crisis and back to growth runs through Glasgow”.

It said Scotland’s biggest city “has most of the ingredients” needed for a “thriving and prosperous economy”.

The conference was jointly held by the think tank and Glasgow Chambers of Commerce, also heard from Tony Danker, the CBI director-general, Susan Aitken, the SNP leader of Glasgow city council, and Lord Sainsbury, the former Conservative leader of the House of Lords.

Lord Sainsbury urged Scotland to move towards a “metro mayors” system which exists in England.

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