It is perhaps not shocking that a new viral version has arisen just in time for Christmas in this utterly terrible year, once again throwing government and industry into chaos.
We must continue to call on the government to raise budgetary support in hope that the implementation of vaccinations would potentially offer both medical and economic relief if consumer-facing companies must suffer many more weeks of shutdown.
The job protection program and a growing mountain of debt for small businesses are currently masking the damage done to livelihoods, but inevitably there will be company failures, job losses, and community impoverishment. In the short term, things don’t look good, but bigger cash grants, another year of tax relief, and options for extending repayment periods for loans or converting debt to equity can help.
Even so, Glasgow is a resilient place. Before, we have overcome economic crises, and there is every reason to be confident that in the medium to long term, we will do so again. The city has cultivated strengths that will emerge relatively intact from this crisis.
It is a Resort City, recognised at the 2019 World Travel Awards as the leading festival and event venue on the globe. We will definitely have long debates on how easily and to what extent international business and leisure travel will recover, and we will certainly have to work hard to help our airports recover missing routes – but it will not have been in vain for years of investment in infrastructure, marketing and event management capabilities.
We wouldn’t be holding the COP26 climate summit without them. Each city on the planet will struggle to recover from the pandemic, but only Glasgow will be the core of next year’s most significant global case.
COP26 will be judged on its effect on tackling climate change, but it’s also the greatest chance we’ll ever have to expose Glasgow to the world as a city full of technical and social creativity, not just a place to visit.
Throughout the crisis, the momentum behind Glasgow’s rebirth as a city of science and creativity has been sustained. At the forefront will be health and life sciences, energy, enabling innovations such as quantum engineering, and advanced manufacturing.
In the city center, along the River Clyde and at Glasgow Airport, the three innovation districts of the city all have developments underway or in the pipeline. The story of their position in fighting Covid-19 will be told in due course, but next year’s Glasgow story will certainly feature their commitment to minimizing climate change.
In addition, expect to learn more about the resilience of some more developed sectors, such as financial services, where investment has continued in the International Financial Services District.
The Barclays campus in Tradeston, the new JP Morgan center on Argyle Street and the Bothwell Street headquarters of Virgin Money are strong signs that 20 years of IFSD investment will continue to carry Glasgow jobs and investment.
We disagree about the balance between downtown office space and working from home, but either way, in the Glasgow City Area, employment will be located. This is mainly because Glasgow is still one of Europe’s best-educated cities. There is no indication of a talent exodus, and foreign students are continuing to sign up here to graduate.
The next three months will be dark and bleak and there will be serious harm to fix, but the regenerative work Glasgow has done over the last two decades will make it much easier to respond.
Stuart Patrick is chief executive of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce