Scottish government pledges £60bn for infrastructure

The Scottish government is pledging to spend up to £60 billion on infrastructure up to 2030, with substantial investment in improvements to the country's road and rail network.

Cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment Alex Neil today published the Scottish government’s Infrastructure and Investment Plan, which covers 54 major infrastructure projects and 33 programmes.

The bulk of the plan is geared towards road and rail upgrades including the controversial Aberdeen bypass, dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025 and completing the dualled road network between all Scottish cities by 2030.

Construction of the replacement Forth crossing is to be completed by 2016 and the plan also sets out investment in rail improvements to reduce journey times across Scotland.

The plan also estimates a cost of £15 billion for completing of a high speed rail route from North West England to Scotland, with the Scottish government promising to contribute £8-9 billion.

Neil said the plan identified the key capital investments that will "deliver growth, support jobs and keep our economy moving" despite Westminster’s cuts to the Scotland’s capital budget.

He said the Scottish government has switched spending from revenue to capital and put in place £2.5 billion for non-profit distributing projects. This is where a private sector partner finances, constructs and maintains an asset and the public sector pays an long term annual charge once it has been built.

Neil said as a consequence of the spending decisions, total capital spending in Scotland will rise by 25 per cent by 2014/15. But he called for substantial new borrowing powers from Westminster to allow even more investment.

"We will utilise whatever borrowing powers we are able to access over coming years. Indeed, if the UK Government listens to our calls for more substantial and immediate powers than contained in the Scotland Bill, we could do even more," he said.

The infrastruture plan also pledges:

  • a step change in the provision of energy efficient homes through new-build and retrofitting through to 2030
  • 30 per cent of overall energy demand and 100 per cent of electricity generated from renewables by 2020 and final energy use to be cut by 12 per cent
  •  70 per cent of Scotland's waste will be recycled by 2025 and only five per cent of the remaining waste to go to landfill

The Infrastructure Investment Plan can be viewed here

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