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Scottish Property Federation urges politicians to focus on economy

The Scottish Property Federation has published a “manifesto” urging MSPs to put economic growth at the heart of the upcoming elections.

The six-point document will be launched today at the federation’s annual conference, setting out six key steps to encourage investment and enable the property industry to revive the Scottish economy. This will include promoting investment, creating more jobs and competitive business rates.

SPF director David Melhuish said: “We need to rally the government. The economy needs to be the central plans of whoever is going to win power in May.”

“Infrastructure is vital to drive economic growth. With the public sector facing major cuts we have to think differently in how we finance investment.”

Politicians will be told that Scotland has to be competitive within the UK if they are expected to succeed.

“We want the local authorities to consider looking at their estate and see how they can raise capital through sale and lease. They could generate up to £25 billion,” Mr Melhuish added.

The SPF’s six key proposals for the Scottish Government include:

  • Consider the sale-and-leaseback of public property as a means of generating up to £25bn of capital to invest in the economy − creating new jobs and spurring economic growth.
  • Bring forward infrastructure investment and encourage further Tax Increment Financing where feasible.
  • Make the economy and jobs a priority in the planning system by making the promotion of economic development a duty for the public sector and introduce greater flexibility to fast-track appropriate development proposals.
  • Ensure business rates are competitive and that Scotland retains long-term empty property rates relief.
  • Encourage appropriate, coasted and simplified building standards and sustainability policies that do not duplicate and deter investment in both existing and new property stock.
  • Promote investment in the private rented sector to unlock the development of new homes and offer genuine quality choice between ownership and renting.

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