Demand for more support for businesses hit by Art School fire

An aerial view of the GSA. Picture: SWNS
An aerial view of the GSA. Picture: SWNS
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More action is needed to secure the long-term recovery of Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street in the wake of the city’s Art School fire a year ago, it has been claimed.

Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeill, who will today lead a cross-party debate in Holyrood to mark the anniversary of the fire which tore through the famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh building, said that 12 months on, businesses were still feeling the after-effects.

Glasgow School of Art went up in flames last June during restoration after a previous fire. A sprinkler system was not operational at the time.

Ms McNeill said that a year on, more investment was needed to help local businesses and residents – some of whom were displaced for months – to recover.

She said: “Local businesses tell me that they’re still experiencing problems with vehicle access and insurance claims, which is having a severe impact on their ability to trade – and the delays to investigation are simply unacceptable.

“Local people need answers and, one year on, it’s staggering that there is still no long-term plan for the area.

“There has to be a much more rigorous and joint effort from Glasgow City Council, the UK government and the Scottish Government to secure the recovery of Sauchiehall Street – and that’s what I’ll keep pushing for on behalf of my constituents.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said the council had fully supported affected residents and businesses, and had administered the Scottish Government’s Sauchiehall Street Fire Recovery Fund payments which saw more than 200 businesses receive a total of over £3 million.

He said business premises had their non-domestic rates suspended and their rateable value reduced by 20 per cent, and added: “Businesses in the surrounding areas were offered hardship relief on their non-domestic rates, and their rateable value has now been reduced by 10 per cent.

“Included in our support was £3,000 per household – half from the council and half from the Scottish Government – to residents, and council officers were on hand on Sauchiehall Street to offer support to both local people displaced from their homes and affected businesses, and our team continue to work with businesses in the area.”