With the passing of the oil age, the prospect of Aberdeen developing an economy based on renewables is looking rather remote. While it’s clear that the oil has been good for many local citizens, any positive impact on the city from this five decade long adventure, is somewhat less evident. Culturally we’re a distant fourth to Edinburgh, Dundee, and Glasgow.

Due to the enormous (but private) wealth kicking around the area, Aberdeen is penalised in terms of government expenditure, with our city council receiving the lowest funding per head of population in Scotland. Regardless of who is in power locally or nationally.

A Cooperative Economy

Black Cat believes that the city council should get ahead of the curve by moving to embrace post-capitalism, and working to develop a cooperative economy prior to the end of the oil boom.

Commerce is attracted to cities with good local facilities, which offer a high standard of living, thereby facilitating easy recruitment.  Craning in vanity projects, will not achieve that outcome.  Instead we should be seeking to attract entities trading not-for-profit, entrepreneurs who are looking to enhance the city and make it a more desirable place to live.  That’s how to build a real “cafe culture”.  A thriving and vibrant local ‘scene’, developing organically from grassroots level, is absolutely key to inward investment.  This would in turn give rise to a downtown business district, with company headquarters relocating to be alongside artisan retailers, bringing with it an influx of business to surrounding industrial estates.

Exempt from Business Rates

To this end, Black Cat advocates introducing varying degrees of business rates exemption for worker cooperatives and non-profit social enterprises, trading within the square mile from Rosemount Place to Trinity Quay, from Holburn Street to the promenade, but excluding those retail units within the shopping malls.

Our vision is for a zone of artisan retailers surrounding and even scatted throughout a downtown business district, with high street chains consolidating in Marischal & Union Squares, and the Trinity, Bon Accord & St Nicholas Centres.