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04/09/2020

Infrastructure spending pledges made in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon / Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has committed itself to increase investment in infrastructure year-on-year so that by the end of the next parliamentary term it will be £1.5 billion higher than during 2019.

A new national infrastructure investment plan is promised later this month, setting out the framework for £32 billion of infrastructure investment over the next five years.

Part of that investment will be in digital infrastructure, with the administration’s £600 million R100 programme set to make superfast broadband available to every home and every business across the country.

These pledges were made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she unveiled her administration’s latest priorities and legislative programme.

A 20-year “vision” for energy-efficient, zero-carbon housing has been promised later this year, with access to outdoor space, transport links, digital connectivity and community services to be prioritised. For social housing, the government will set new standards on carbon emissions, digital infrastructure, and access to outdoor space and room for homeworking.

Sturgeon said the government was working with the construction sector to catch up with its target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament.

The administration has also promised £1.6 billion low-carbon funding to secure a transition to a net-zero economy, a move that will include a £100 million Green Jobs Fund, investment in heat and energy efficiency and industrial decarbonisation. A key factor will be the arrival of the Scottish National Investment Bank, whose primary mission is to help fund the transition to a net-zero economy.

Funding worth £500 million for infrastructure to support active travel is also in prospect. An additional £100 million was announced for Scottish Forestry to increase new planting, alongside £30 million to Forestry and Land Scotland to expand national forests and land.

Environmental groups called for urgent action to implement the green policies while the housing sector voiced disappointment over the absence of any increase in the programme for social housing.

Image credit | Scottish Government

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