So, the TIF proposal for UTG is dead, long live the (new) TIF proposal for UTG. Now what?
It is a fascinating development. As I blogged previously, I was far from convinced about TIF in its first City Gardens incarnation. We now seem to have a “back of a fag packet” TIF for something else, coupled with a need to quickly ask the Scottish Futures Trust whether this new TIF will be any good. Proponents of the initial scheme would point out that, although predicated on certain assumptions, they were sensible and a real transformational effect would lead to the uplift in rates and therefore be suitable collateral for any TIF funding. What is any new TIF predicated on?
That is the however many million dollar question. This new scheme needs to get something costed very, very soon. If it does not, the danger of facing a situation akin to negative equity is real and arguably worse than it was with TIF mark 1.
I wonder what the rest of the country makes of it all? To remind you of the story, one scheme (the Peacock) was kiboshed at a late stage, a consultation received a majority of responses against the City Gardens scheme, there was then a referendum, an intervening local authority election, and now today’s vote. Today’s solution reminds me of Edinburgh council’s “bonkers” solution to have the trams terminate at Haymarket, which (it will be recalled) was eventually overturned. I think it is fair to say there may be a few more twists and turns in UTG’s story. If we end up roughly back at the Peacock scheme, that could have been near finished by now anyway, a few people might feel just a little bit silly.
Thanks to Mark McDonald MSP for taking the time to joust with me on Twitter today.