MSPs back Scottish Budget boosting infrastructure investment by £1.56bn

Scotland announced its Budget in December, which revealed funding for regional cities and transport.

More funding made available for infrastructure projects
More funding made available for infrastructure projects

 UPDATE 1 Feb 2019:

On 31 January 2019, MSPs in the Scottish Parliament debated the 2019-20 Budget as outlined by Finance Minister Derek Mackay late last year.

MSPs agreed to the general principles of the Scottish Budget, with the majority - 67 MSPs - backing it. Some 58 were against, and there was one abstention.

“The positive vote on the 2019/20 Budget, with its £5bn for infrastructure, strengthens Scotland’s ability to compete in the global economy. Increases in investment across recent years have connected our cities, improved drinking water quality and helped us reduce our dependence on carbon," said Jim Young, ICE Scotland Chair and Fellow.
 
“Such investment improves the quality of life for the people who live here, as well as ensuring a successful economy.

"In today’s Budget debate, MSPs referenced the importance of maintaining this strong level of infrastructure investment. It is now important for built environment professionals to get on with the job of delivering the right infrastructure for inclusive growth and a low carbon future for the people of Scotland."

In December last year, Scotland recognised the contribution infrastructure investment can make to achieve inclusive growth and lower carbon by announcing an increase of £1.5bn by the end of the next parliament.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work Derek Mackay found money for City Region Deals, transport, energy efficiency and decarbonisation of heat in the draft budget.

There were also commitments to cycling and walking and electric vehicle provision.

The importance of maintaining existing infrastructure – as well as investing in new

In welcoming the draft budget announced on Wednesday (12 December), ICE Scotland underlined the importance of maintaining existing infrastructure assets as well as investing in new.

Earlier this year in its flagship policy publication, State of the Nation Scotland, 2018: Infrastructure Investment the Institution outlined priorities for infrastructure investment and gave recommendations for government and industry to ensure the best return on investment.

Specific recommendations for transport, energy and water sectors were also made.

ICE’s Regional Director of Scotland, Sara Thiam, said:

“We are pleased to see the commitment of £5 billion capital investment in the country’s infrastructure for next year, to enhance quality of life and boost productivity.

“The £50 million allocated to low carbon transport measures is particularly welcome as we move towards a largely electric vehicle fleet.

"However, as this becomes a reality, the government must also think about other forms of revenue to pay for major road development and maintenance. A pay-as-you-go road charging scheme should be considered, as ICE Scotland recommended in its recent State of the Nation Report, for the nation’s busiest roads to ensure the long-term security of revenue for continued maintenance and upgrades.”

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