Issued by the Scottish Government
A programme of capital projects estimated to support approximately 2,000 jobs across Scotland in 2013-14 has been given the green light today.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said work on the £205 million package of construction and maintenance projects will begin this year.
Local Government will receive over £46 million to support capital projects that are ready to go and additional to their current investment plans.
Mr Swinney last month wrote to Chancellor George Osborne calling on the UK Government to provide an immediate targeted boost to capital investment to protect the recovery in the short term and provide the infrastructure necessary to facilitate long term economic growth.
This followed a 33 per cent cut to Scotland’s capital budget by the UK Government.
Mr Swinney said:
“This Government acted swiftly to provide an immediate capital stimulus to Scotland’s economy at the start of the 2008 financial crisis. As a consequence, Scotland’s experience of recession has been shorter and shallower than that of the UK
“That experience has informed our repeated calls to the Chancellor for the kind of economic stimulus that would put recovery on firmer foundations. I welcome the fact that, after four years, the UK Government has now listened and made £394 million additional capital available up to 2014-15, reducing the cut to Scotland capital budget to 26 per cent. This is partly undermined, however, by a reduction in our resource budget, giving us a net gain of £330 million in total.
“Just two weeks after the Chancellor’s Autumn statement I can now confirm a programme of shovel ready projects we will take forward with immediate effect. The range of projects for this year and next will see jobs created across Scotland, provide an immediate boost to Scotland’s construction sector giving a firmer basis to the so far fragile recovery and strengthen the foundations for our economy over the long term.
“That two year delay in funding from the UK Government highlights once again the limitations of the current constitutional arrangements, in particular our inability to borrow. In the absence of full economic and fiscal powers the Scottish Government will continue to act quickly in Scotland’s interests with all the resources and powers available to. With the full range of powers and resources of independence we could do much more.”
Announcements detailing further details on projects to be taken forward will be made in due course.
The Scottish Government wrote to the Chancellor with proposals for £820 million of investment in November. We are now able to take forward a sub-set of those proposals, focussed particularly on those that will have most impact on jobs and can deliver quickly.