UK government urged to increase infrastructure spending

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  The UK Government has been urged to increase the money available for Scotland to spend on infrastructure projects to provide an immediate boost to the economy.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the call as she attended the British-Irish Council in Cardiff.

This follows Finance Secretary John Swinney’s letter to the Chancellor which highlighted that there is a range of projects that could begin construction before the end of 2013 -14, maximising opportunities to create jobs and growth, if the UK Government were to make extra capital spending available.

Ms Sturgeon, who is also the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said:

“The scale of the UK Governments cuts to public investment are acting as a key drag on economic growth. They are too deep, too quick and are holding the whole of the UK back.

“The Scottish Government is taking forward a range of initiatives to stimulate our economy.

“A key action is a major programme of investment in capital infrastructure – despite the significant cuts by the UK Government to our capital budget of around a third between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

“But there is only so much we can do within our limited powers.

“That is why we are calling on the UK Government to provide a much needed stimulus to the economy through increasing capital investment which creates jobs and increases confidence in the short term, and creates long term assets for sustainable growth.

“We have highlighted a fresh set of projects across Scotland that could get underway in short order should the UK Government make extra capital investment available now.

“The Chancellor must act in his Autumn Statement in December – the whole of the UK economy needs it. We are ready to put extra spending to immediate use in Scotland, stimulating growth and creating substantial numbers of new jobs.”

On Sunday, Finance Secretary John Swinney wrote to UK Chancellor George Osborne pointing out that a programme of infrastructure projects worth over £800 million could get underway across Scotland now if the UK Government reverses some of its cuts to capital and invests in growth.

The Finance Secretary published an updated list of “shovel-ready” projects that could be delivered before the end of 2013 -14, maximising opportunities to create jobs and growth.

Writing to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement Mr Swinney called 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 follows a 33 per cent cut to Scotland’s capital budget by the UK Government.

The list of projects focuses on transport, economic development projects, regeneration, further education, health and sport including:

  • Clyde Gateway: Office and Industrial Developments for Economic Growth
  • Upgrading A68 Pathhead to Tynehead Junction
  • NHS Grampian Inverurie Health Centre and Community Maternity Unit

These projects could support thousands of jobs in the Scottish economy and many have already received planning consent.  However, with UK Government cuts to the Scottish Government’s capital budget having a severe effect, funding for such projects is not yet available.

Projects and total Scottish Government funding

  • A96 Threapland £6.0m
  • A68 Pathhead to Tynehead Junction £11.0m
  • A95 Lackgie £4.0m
  • A702 Candymill Bend and Edmonstone Brae £4.0m
  • Trunk Road maintenance £34.0m
  • Cycling infrastructure projects £3.9m
  • Ferry port infrastructure £5.7m
  • Canal infrastructure projects: Regeneration and Tourism £6.3m

TRANSPORT TOTAL (8) £74.9m 

  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise: economic development projects £9.8m
  • Scottish Enterprise: economic development projects £40.4m
  • Port of Leith masterplanning £119.0m
  • VisitScotland: investment in Visitor Centre infrastructure, including Glasgow Visitor Information Centre £1.3m
  • Roslin International Centre for Livestock Improvement £10.0m

ENTERPRISE TOTAL (5) £180.5m

  • Forestry projects: access, road infrastructure and buildings refurbishment £6.2m
  • National Parks: developing the rural economy £12.4m
  • Scottish Natural Heritage: co-location Fort William £0.2m

RURAL AND ENVIRONMENT TOTAL (3) £18.8m

  • Scottish Court Service: estate improvement, essential maintenance and statutory compliance £8.4m
  • Upgrading the Safety Camera Network £2.4m

JUSTICE TOTAL(2)£10.8m

  • Affordable Housing Supply Programme: additional grant funding £40.0m HOUSING TOTAL (1) £40.0m
  • Clyde Gateway: Office and Industrial Developments for Economic Growth £63.4m Irvine Enterprise Area: Infrastructure and Innovation Campus, and Irvine Ailsa Road Industrial Units £5.9m
  • Ardrossan Quayside and Medical Centre £4.7m

REGENERATION TOTAL (3) £74.0m

  • National Theatre of Scotland: Glasgow regeneration project £2.0m
  • Works to Historic Scotland’s estate £1.4m National Museums of Scotland: maintenance £3.6m
  • Creative Scotland: grants programme £1.5m

CULTURE AND HERITAGE TOTAL (4) £8.5m

  • College projects: targeted investment in priority estates £65.0m

FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION TOTAL (1)£65.0m

  • Health: backlog maintenance/equipment replacement £75.0m
  • Health: bring forward projects through capital funding projects currently earmarked for revenue funding £188.9m
  • NHS Highland Renal and Endoscopy £2.0m
  • NHS Highland Day Services £15.0m
  • NHS Grampian Inverurie Health Centre and Community Maternity Unit £7.0m
  • NHS Grampian: Aboyne Health Centre £2.0m
  • NHS Grampian: Stonehaven Health Centre £2.0m
  • NHS Grampian: additional theatre capacity £3.0m
  • NHS Lanarkshire: Monklands – additional backlog investment £10.0m
  • NHS Tayside: additional theatre capacity – Ninewells £3.0m
  • NHS Tayside: intensive care unit upgrade £1.0m

HEALTH TOTAL (11) £308.9m

20 x 3G Pitches £6.0m

  • National Sporting Facilities £2.0m
  • School Investment £5.0m
  • Community Hub investment £3.0m
  • Sports legacy projects £23.6m

SPORT TOTAL (5) £39.6m

TOTAL CAPITAL INVESTMENT (43) £820.8m