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Economic Investment

St James Quarter, Edinburgh

Attracting investment into Scotland’s towns, cities and communities to deliver economic opportunities

Attracting businesses to invest in Scotland is a key driver of Scottish Government’s long-term economic plan.

Securing additional investment is achieved by generating the right environment for both the public and private sectors to invest in, ensuring economic and inclusive benefits are delivered and that Scotland remains a great place to invest.

Our Economic Investment team is working to attract inward investment into Scotland’s towns, cities and communities that will deliver economic opportunities for Scotland. Working in partnership with the public and private sectors, we are seeking to create the right conditions to generate additional net zero, economic investment opportunities across Scotland.

Our work is primarily focused on the following programmes:

We have led on the TIF programme as a way of securing infrastructure investment that unlocks regeneration and inclusive economic growth.

TIF seeks to capture locally generated public sector revenues (e.g. business rates) that would not have arisen were it not for investment in the delivery of ‘enabling’ public sector infrastructure.

The use of TIF is normally based on a ‘but for’ test i.e. that but for TIF, the anticipated outcomes from a regeneration and economic perspective would not occur or not occur in the time frames which TIF would enable.

A TIF project must therefore demonstrate that the enabling infrastructure will generate additional public sector revenues to repay the financing requirements of the enabling infrastructure.

There are currently four active TIF projects:

  • Glasgow City Council’s TIF has the capacity to deliver significant benefits to the city centre and is being used, in part, for the future development of Buchanan Galleries
  • Fife Council will invest TIF enabling funding to improve vehicle and marine access to Energy Park, Fife, allowing the potential for further renewable, offshore and wind project capability to be developed
  • Argyll & Bute Council’s Lorn Arc TIF is aimed at further enabling Oban’s wider economy and ensuring the economic infrastructure which will act as a catalyst to grow marine tourism, renewables and aquaculture is in place
  • Falkirk Council is investing to support commercial activity in manufacturing, distribution and support sectors in Grangemouth. This will include strategic road improvements and flood defences to enhance and protect the region

Two further TIF projects, one based in North Ayrshire and the other again in Fife, are in place and our team will work with the Councils to advance the projects.

Our constant drive to develop and deliver innovative and commercially viable infrastructure funding solutions resulted in a new initiative being adopted for the delivery of public sector enabling infrastructure - the Growth Accelerator.

Working initially with the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government, our Economic Investment team designed and developed this new approach that has allowed City of Edinburgh Council make an investment of £60m in public infrastructure, which saw £850m of private sector investment made into the heart of the city.

Construction of the newly named 'St James Quarter' has seen the city centre transformed into a state-of-the-art retail, leisure and residential destination.

Building on this pathfinding work for Edinburgh, our Growth Accelerator was also adopted by Dundee City Council for the V&A and Waterfront area of the city.

The Growth Accelerator, which has the potential to unlock substantial levels of additional investment in cities and regions across Scotland, is being considered more widely by Scottish Government, with the Stornoway Deep Water Terminal the latest to be granted Growth Accelerator funding.

Our team


Neil Rutherford

Senior Associate Director

Neil is an experienced infrastructure specialist who passionately believes in empowering Scotland’s communities and organisations to shape and deliver more resilient places: this contributes to achieving better outcomes, lives and opportunities.

This ethos is embedded in his current role, leading the Place, Housing and Economic Investment teams, with a track record of delivering change and investment.

During his time at SFT he has been involved in a number of SFT initiatives, working closely with partners, to deliver successful outcomes in economic investment and digital.

Prior to SFT, Neil was a key member of a leading public sector advisory practice and started his career in banking.


David McIntosh

Associate Director

David’s background is in economic development, infrastructure, funding and project delivery. 

He has worked across a broad range of sectors including energy and space and has been involved in a variety of major programmes in Scotland over the past 12 years.  These include the twelve City and Growth Deals, major regeneration projects and complex infrastructure delivery. 

He works closely with the Scottish Government, Enterprise Agencies and local delivery partners and has a deep knowledge of the Scottish market. 

David is a chartered accountant and previously worked for one of the professional services companies for over 10 years advising on Scottish and UK major government projects.