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Swinney pledges to increase infrastructure spending

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  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

Investment in Scotland’s essential infrastructure will be a strong focus of the SNP government’s budget when it is published today, finance secretary John Swinney has said.

The minister made the pledge on a visit to a £228 million college “super campus” in Glasgow yesterday, saying that investment in infrastructure would rise to £4.17 billion next year.

He said: “Despite the UK government’s decision to cut the Scottish Government’s discretionary spending power by more than 11 per cent in real terms over five years, with our capital budget being reduced by almost 27 per cent in real terms, our plans include securing £8bn of infrastructure investment over the next two years. “The budget also confirms funding for childcare, free school meals, business rates and bedroom tax, helping ensure Scotland is the best place for our children to grow up, that we offer the most competitive environment for business within the UK and that people in Scotland are protected from the worst effects of Westminster’s welfare cuts.”

Mr Swinney said the budget bill would also include extra cash for childcare, free school meals and business rates relief. It confirms £55m for free school meals, £59m for childcare on top of £191m previously pledged, £77m for business rates relief and £20m to cover benefit cuts from those deemed to have extra bedrooms.

However, Labour’s finance spokesman Iain Gray said: “The budget doesn’t demonstrate any strategy to achieve the government’s own declared objectives such as creating jobs, growing the economy, eradicating poverty or reducing inequality.”

 

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