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Businesses say direct rail link would boost Glasgow City Region economy

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Creating a direct rail link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre is vital to the long term success of the regional economy, according to business leaders.

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A survey on behalf of Renfrewshire and Glasgow City councils revealed around three-quarters of businesses believe such a link would benefit their sales or turnover, while half said it would have a positive impact on employment numbers.

It also found that four out of five think a direct rail link would boost their business by giving them better access to clients and customers.

More than a quarter of businesses reported the planned link – known as the Glasgow Airport Access Project – would help them recruit and retain staff, while 84 per cent said it would have a positive impact on the economy.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan holds the economic portfolio in the Glasgow City Region Cabinet.

He said: “The results of this survey send a clear message and leave absolutely no room for doubt. Businesses overwhelmingly feel that improving access to and from the airport with a direct rail link would break down barriers to their success and open doors for local people to find good jobs.”

“Glasgow Airport injects around £170m to the Glasgow City Region economy every year”, he added.

“We need to help it stay competitive and ensure we deliver the access needed for businesses to thrive, grow and provide positive employment opportunities.”

The Glasgow Airport Access Project will provide a direct rail link between the airport, Paisley and Glasgow City Centre.

It is the flagship project of the Glasgow City Region City Deal, an agreement to fund major infrastructure projects that unites eight local authorities and to which the Scottish and UK governments have committed.

The survey was carried out by Peter Brett Associates LLP between 8 August and 6 September 2016.

It was sent to businesses registered with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and the Glasgow Tourism Initiative, published on the Glasgow City Council website and circulated via the Glasgow Airport Twitter account.

Of the 133 businesses that took part 85 per cent were small-scale enterprises, around 10 per cent were medium scale, and five per cent large scale.