Glasgow City Region

Glasgow City Region

The Glasgow City Region (GCR) (previously Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Region), is an urbanised city region in the Western Central belt of Scotland in the Clyde Valley and consisting of eight councils:glasgow map

  1. East Dunbartonshire
  2. East Renfrewshire
  3. Glasgow City Council
  4. Inverclyde
  5. North Lanarkshire
  6. Renfrewshire
  7. South Lanarkshire
  8. West Dunbartonshire

Glasgow City, the City Region’s urban core, is Scotland’s largest city with a wide sphere of influence and with a population of around 600.000 people:

  • 12% of Glasgow’s population is from an ethnic minority.
  • Glasgow City is the main employment and service centre, the main retail centre, the main centre of further and higher education, as well as the main centre of cultural, leisure and entertainment activities for Western Central Scotland.

The wider City Region plays a significant role in Scotland’s economy and culture. It is largely urban, but much of this area is open countryside that accommodates numerous farming communities and several large country parks.

The GCR has no single municipal government, however, following the agreement of the City Deal with the UK Government, the eight constituent authorities established a joint Cabinet in 2015 to support governance of the Plan. In addition to its economic objectives, the GCR has a series of strategic social and health targets, including tackling social inequity. It also seeks to enhance the Region’s international profile and influence. Across the GCR, there are a number of regeneration and infrastructure projects.


In August 2014 the Scottish Government committed over £500 million over 20 years to the GCR Deal. This was the first deal of its kind in Scotland and is an agreement between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the eight local authorities across Glasgow and Clyde Valley that make up the City Region. The Deal created a £1.13 billion infrastructure investment fund and it was estimated that the Deal would deliver around 29,000 jobs in the city region and lead to an estimated £3.3 billion of private sector investment. The GCR Cabinet introduced a new economic strategy for the whole City Region in 2016, which has its origins in developments going back to 2003. This strategy was inspired by similar developments in the UK such as Manchester. The eight local authorities, along with several others, had previously formed the Strathclyde region (1974-1996). The GCR Cabinet also approved the creation of a Regional Economic Strategy which will run from summer 2016 to 2030. This “recognises the fact that the economies of the Glasgow City Region local authorities are completely interlinked”. While the eight councils retain their own identities, they all work towards growing the regional economy. In addition to its economic objectives, the City Region has a series of strategic social and health targets, including tackling social inequity.

The main economic sectors by employment in the GCR are:

  • Public administration, education and health (34 %);
  • Distribution, hotel and restaurants (15 %);
  • Manufacturing (15 %);
  • Banking and finance (15 %);
  • Transport/ communications (8 %).


The proportion of employed in professional occupations is well above the Scotland average. However, despite this, Glasgow’s employment levels still remain below those of 2009, whereas the rest of Scotland and wider UK have seen recovery above the 2009 levels. It is estimated that the greatest gaps in the GCR are “in skilled trades and customer services and replacement demand is greatest in social care, tourism and in construction, which will continue to have an impact on FE provision in particular” (Skills Development Scotland 2016 p.18).

The Glasgow City Region Refreshed Economic Strategy states that a key priority is tackling the level of unemployment across the Region, particularly in Glasgow, which is amongst the highest in Scotland. This is seen as challenging given the ‘significant economic headwinds’ that include public sector job cuts. Implications for polices and measures mean adopting ‘new approaches to support people back into work’. The GCR planning argues that key to this will be ‘stronger engagement with employers to identify where future jobs might come from and how best to tackle unemployment.

While recent statistics on employment from SDS (2016) indicate some improvement regarding employment and skills, there are still particular issues of concern to be addressed such as:

  • The relatively higher than average proportions of the population without qualifications is a concern, especially those aged 16-24 where more than one in 10 have no qualifications. Tackling low attainment and enabling more young people to overcome barriers to entering the labour market remain priorities for the region.
  • A further challenge is to ensure that the supply of skills is sufficient to meet the demands of the GCR’s growing economy and to further widen participation in the labour market.


Glasgow is a major centre of higher education and academic research, with four universities in the City centre (three Colleges in the city, three Higher Education Colleges, twenty-nine secondary schools, 149 primary schools and three specialist schools, as well as a number of Independent schools).Across the other partnership local authorities that make up the GCR their education services operate state run primary, secondary and colleges.

Further Education leavers in the wider Glasgow region were deemed less work-ready by employers than Scotland´s average, although this was the reverse for school leavers. The number of Modern Apprenticeship starts in the Region increased slightly in 2013/14 from the previous year, with business and administration, hospitality, social services (children and young people), retail, and freight logistics being some of the most popular.


The average household earnings in Glasgow City are lower than for Scotland, although a higher proportion than average in East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire have incomes £30,000+. There are some 80.500 workless households in the region, concentrated in Glasgow City.

The proportion of school pupils entitled to free school meals is higher than Scotland. Almost half (47.3 %) of Glasgow’s population (283.000 people) live in the 20% of most deprived areas in Scotland. Despite these figures, the level of relative deprivation in Glasgow has been reducing over recent years. In 2014/2015 almost 90.000 in the GCR were ‘work-limited’ through disability. While the extent of deprivation has fallen in the Region there are still large numbers of disadvantaged in the labour market.


The GCR LLL & Skills polices closely reflect National policies but are refined to meet regional and local priorities and objectives. Not surprisingly, these have a strong focus on tackling disadvantage and unemployment.

The GCR is working collaboratively with the Scottish Government, the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and other partners to develop a tailored employment service to promote employment amongst the more deprived members of the community. Across the GCR, most of the interventions to tackle skills development of those furthest removed from learning opportunities for a variety of reasons but including disadvantage, are addressed by Community Planning Partnerships (CPP) that involve a range of public, private and third sector partners, employers with links to regional boards. The CPP and their partners work to address the objectives set out for them in Single Outcome.

Funding for the regional LLL & Skills programmes comes from the Scottish Government and the UK Government, with the partner local authorities contributing and also sometimes borrowing to support their policies and actions. Other sources, mainly European funding also feature.

Some of the most important LLL and skills policies for young adults developed at the GCR are:

This project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693167