Scottish Government unveils £33bn infrastructure plan

The transport and infrastructure secretary announced the five-year capital spending strategy.

Scottish Government unveils £33bn infrastructure plan PA Media
Spending on healthcare, education, transport and environmental infrastructure over the next five years will exceed £33bn.

Spending on healthcare, education, transport and environmental infrastructure over the next five years will exceed £33bn, the Scottish Government has forecast.

Transport and infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson announced the Government’s five-year capital spending strategy that it hopes will support an estimated 45,000 construction and maintenance jobs over the next parliamentary term.

Since a draft version of the plan was released in September last year, Matheson said a further £2bn of proposed spending has been added, including £50m for “active freeways” and £60m for “climate adaptation of the trunk road network” in an effort to support the Government’s environmental strategy.

Other planned investments include £2.3bn on capital healthcare spending, with money for the construction of the Baird Family Hospital and Anchor centre in Aberdeen, facilities in Grampian, Perth and Kirkcaldy and a new health and social care community hub in Parkhead.

There is also £2bn allocated for education facilities, including a new city centre primary school and a Gaelic school in Glasgow, with up to £90m towards the Dunfermline Learning Campus.

Matheson also welcomed the inclusion of “natural infrastructure” within the Scottish Government’s definition of infrastructure.

He said: “Our overall focus is on driving inclusive economic growth, the transition to net-zero and building resilient and sustainable places.

“This package of significant investment will support economic confidence in every corner of Scotland and send out a clear message that we will continue to do all we can to secure our recovery from coronavirus.

“In the process, we will also be supporting over 45,000 jobs and building a strong future for Scotland.”

But Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “The SNP are great at making announcements, the problem is their lack of action.

“Their 14 years in power are marred by failure after failure to deliver on their lofty promises. They build ferries that don’t float and hospitals, like the Sick Kids in Edinburgh, that can’t open.

“For a mammoth £33bn of spending, 85% of which comes from the UK Government – and the SNP would put that at risk by pushing for indyref2 this year – these plans are a disappointment.

“They’ve failed to deliver the bold plan we need to build our way out of this economic crisis.

“The Scottish Conservatives set out far more ambitious proposals, like a three-lane M8, in our Power Up Scotland jobs plan.”