£24bn Scots infrastructure investment plan unveiled

The Scottish Government on Thursday unveiled a £24 billion infrastructure plan to be rolled out in the next five years.

It said tens of thousands of jobs will be supported by its new £24 billion Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP).

Covering the five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26, the plan will help stimulate Scotland’s green economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Draft IIP also details how the Scottish Government will deliver its £33.5 billion National Infrastructure Mission (NIM), which will support an estimated 45,000 jobs.

Apart from infrastructure, the NIM also covers investment in research, business innovation, capitalising the new Scottish National Investment Bank and capital funding to local government.

“It includes investment to decarbonise business, industry and buildings, the provision of new health facilities and schools and support for manufacturing innovation,” said the Scottish Government.

“The plan also places a new emphasis on enhancing and finding new uses for existing infrastructure before embarking on new projects.”

The Draft IIP was unveiled in a statement to the Scottish Parliament by Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson.

Matheson said: “In 2018 our National Infrastructure Mission committed to boost sustainable economic growth by increasing annual investment in infrastructure by £1.5 billion by the end of the next Parliament.

“This plan makes good on that commitment, turning our green economic recovery into reality and helping to support 45,000 jobs

“It is a national strategy driven by the needs of our villages, towns and cities and will deliver benefits to communities across the country.

“We are living in turbulent times and it is essential that government shows leadership and provides stability and certainty. 

“The Draft IIP provides a robust pipeline of work that will help stimulate a green recovery and offer high quality, sustainable jobs in all parts of Scotland.”

The Draft IIP includes:

  • more than £8 billion for environmental sustainability and the transition to net zero emissions, including £250 million to support 18,000 hectares of forestry and restoring peatlands 
  • almost £5 billion boosting inclusive economic growth, including £500 million to extend full fibre broadband to businesses and households in rural areas and £30 million for the National Islands Plan
  • more than £11 billion for our cities, towns, villages and rural areas, including £275 million to revitalise town centres and nearly £2 billion on health infrastructure and equipment

Further projects will be added to the Draft IIP when their procurement plans are sufficiently advanced.

It may also be possible to bring more schemes forward after the UK Government publishes it Comprehensive Spending Review, which will clarify the Scottish Government’s budget for future capital investment.