Plans for £1.5bn annual boost to Scotland’s infrastructure

Scottish Futures Trust chief executive Peter Reekie launches the organisation's five-year corporate plan at the V&A in Dundee today. Picture: Kenny Smith
Scottish Futures Trust chief executive Peter Reekie launches the organisation's five-year corporate plan at the V&A in Dundee today. Picture: Kenny Smith
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Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is aiming to boost annual investment in Scotland’s infrastructure by up to £1.5 billion as part of a move towards a low-carbon economy.

SFT, the infrastructure delivery arm of the Scottish Government, has unveiled its five-year corporate plan to stimulate private sector investment, create jobs and build homes.

The trust has proposed an ambitious infrastructure investment target of £6.7bn annually by 2025/26, which would represent a £1.5bn rise from this year’s £5.2bn baseline.

Supporting Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy is a key focus of the new strategy, with plans to install more electric vehicle charging points, deliver better insulated buildings, and promote de-carbonised heating methods.

This supports the Scottish Government’s pledge to phase out new petrol and diesel-only cars by 2032.

SFT’s plans include digital targets to roll out 4G masts in rural regions and support a 5G strategy which is to be piloted at Dundee’s waterfront.

Its long-term goal is to transform Scotland into a “world-leading digital nation”, which the trust estimates could increase the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 10 per cent.

The proposals also aim to promote technologies such as 3D computer modelling, virtual reality and laser scanning in the construction sector as a means of flushing out potential flaws in building design before work progresses to the construction phase.

Scotland’s construction industry represents approximately 6 per cent of the nation’s GDP and employs more than 130,000 people.

Chief executive Peter Reekie said: “Delivering high-quality, well-functioning infrastructure to support and accelerate economic growth will achieve social and environmental benefits right across Scotland.

“The target to phase out the need to buy petrol or diesel vehicles in Scotland in little over ten years’ time will require a big expansion of charging points and we are working with colleagues from Transport Scotland to plan for that now.

“In addition, the economic impact of Scotland becoming a world-leading digital nation is huge as it could boost GDP by around 10 per cent. But to reap that reward, all of Scotland must be at the forefront of technology.”

This comes as the Scottish Government and leadership organisation Construction Scotland announced the creation of a strategic leadership forum to develop a shared action plan.

It is hoped that closer collaboration will enable the government to deliver its economic infrastructure and built environment aims, while supporting the construction industry to achieve the goals set out in its three-year strategy.