Dundee needs to work together for success

Dundee is blossoming. The birthplace of jute, jam and journalism is witnessing a revival of fortunes as it finally shakes off years of economic and cultural decline.

Dundee's jute works. Picture: TSPL
Dundee's jute works. Picture: TSPL
Dundee's jute works. Picture: TSPL

Despite failing in its City of Culture Bid, £1 billion is still being spent creating a new waterfront with the V&A at its heart. The City of Discovery is rediscovering itself.

However, while there is reason to celebrate, such ambitious plans must include a strategy for business investment that is international in scale.

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Last month, the latest UK Competitiveness Index ranked cities such as Aberdeen and Edinburgh as some of the best places to do business in Britain. Glasgow also climbed the league table, from 23rd last year to 16th.

Despite the positivity, Dundee dropped from 34th to 37th in the rankings.

The journey from economic decline to growth is never easy. What draws businesses to invest in new locations is a mix of a talented, well-educated local workforce, good infrastructure and a promising vision for the future. Dundee, with its vibrant student population and massive investment plans has all of the crucial ingredients.

What we now need to see is firm commitment from politicians and business leaders to work together more collaboratively to drive sustainable, long-term business growth. Glasgow’s recent success in climbing the UK Competitiveness Index can partly be put down to an immense collective effort.

The latest Grant Thornton UK/ICAEW Business Confidence Monitor suggested Scotland’s businesses are going through a cautious, long-term recovery. There have been bumps in the road but the outlook is promising. Industries hit hard by the downturn, such as manufacturing and construction, have begun to turn around their fortunes.

The positive outlook presents a golden opportunity for Dundee. Businesses are slowly starting to express an interest in the region and a number of speculative developments are either under construction or in the pipeline. But, what we now need to see is everyone in the city working together and proactively promoting Dundee as a great place to invest and do business.

• Lorraine Macphail is head of Property and Construction Scotland at Grant Thornton UK LLP