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Economic impact of the relocation of the Scottish Public Pensions Agency


The Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) was relocated from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, near Galashiels, in 2002, as part of the Scottish Executive’s strategy of dispersing government jobs throughout Scotland and to help the ailing Borders economy which had been hard hit by the decline in textiles and electronics and by foot and mouth disease. The evaluation aimed to define the nature and magnitude of the economic impact of the relocation on the Borders, identify wider benefits of the relocation, and highlight lessons for the Borders and for the Executive’s relocation policy.


Consultations with key players, focus groups with management and staff of SPPA, and a staff survey were carried out.


It was found that the impact of the relocation on the Borders economy in terms of employment was significant. Working conditions, location and career opportunities, rather than a higher than average salary, were the driving factors in attracting new employees to SPPA. Recruiting and skills posed no problems to SPPA. Staff who had relocated from the central belt rated the quality of life in the Borders highly. However, planning for the relocation was felt to be poor, with factors such as stress and a too-tight timescale being mentioned.


Lessons for inward investment activity were identified. Positive aspects of the Borders as a place to invest were: the responsiveness of the labour market; the quality of the local hospital; the quality of life; and the scenery. Deterrents to investment identified were: poor public transport; a lack of appropriate storage space; a lack of suitable short-term accommodation; and poor estate agent services.

Author Biggar Economics
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
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