Scotland politics

Scottish building projects 'support 40,000 jobs'

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Media captionThe Scottish government said its building programme would aid economic recovery

Building projects like schools, hospitals and roads will support 40,000 jobs this year under a £3.1bn capital programme, Scottish ministers said.

Details came in the government's updated plans for investment in infrastructure, up to 2030, which was first published two years ago.

Opposition parties heavily criticised the "wish list" of proposals.

They said there was no indication of when and how some would be delivered, while others were over budget.

The Scottish government's infrastructure plans aim to aid economic recovery.

Ministers also said they expected to see "significant progress" this year in projects built through its non-profit distribution scheme, which ministers said was a fairer alternative to PPP/PFI tie-ups with the private sector.

Those included the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary entering procurement and college building projects in Inverness and Glasgow.

Holyrood ministers said money they get from Westminster, which funds the Scottish budget, is shrinking by £3.3bn - or 11% below the 2010-11 level - over three years, as the UK government seeks to cut the spending deficit.

Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "This government is determined to invest in Scotland's infrastructure - our schools, roads and hospitals - both to stimulate growth in the short term and lay the foundations for long-term success.

"Today's updated plan demonstrates exactly how we will do that, despite substantial and ill thought through cuts in our capital budget from Westminster of some 26%."

Scottish ministers said £3.4bn of capital investment was planned in 2013-14.

They said that, during 2012, nine major infrastructure projects worth more than £600m were finished and came into use.

But Labour's Richard Baker MSP said: "We all want to see more investment in infrastructure but the problem is the Scottish government is talking about it, not doing it.

"When this plan was first announced we said it was a wish-list.

"Since then projects have been further delayed and we now know that of £353m which was meant to be invested in key projects this year, only £20m is actually being spent."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the government had given no explanation on how it was speeding up capital spending, even though it got an extra £394m from the Treasury last autumn.

He went on: "In fact, the Scottish government has been silent on how it proposes to use the half that is available for 2014-15.

"Potential developers who need to know this basic information will be frustrated. It won't help them plan."

Referendum 'bribe'

The Conservatives said projects including the Aberdeen bypass, the A90, M873 and M874 road upgrades and the Stornoway-Ullapool ferry project had either increased in cost or were being hit by delay.

The party's infrastructure spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP, said: "This might as well be called the lack of progress report.

"What we have is a list of schemes that are running over budget or behind schedule, then a new wish list with no detail on where the money will come from or how it will be delivered.

"The SNP might think the announcement of these projects will act as bribe for voters ahead of the separation referendum in 2014, but people see right through this sort of thing."

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