£33bn Scottish plan unveiled to drive 'green recovery' from pandemic

An additional £2 billion of projects to help Scotland lead the world in the transition to a net zero economy have been unveiled by Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson.
£600m is earmarked for digital connectivity as more people work from home£600m is earmarked for digital connectivity as more people work from home
£600m is earmarked for digital connectivity as more people work from home

They are part of the Scottish Government's £33 billion spending plan for public infrastructure schemes like roads, hospitals, schools and digital connectivity over the next five years. It is estimated that 45,000 jobs will be supported by the measures in the plan for 2021/22-2025/26, as the economy seeks to recover from the impact of lockdown.

They include a shift to more environmentally-friendly ways of heating homes and the creation of new "active freeways" dedicated to cyclists.

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There are also plans to ramp up digital connectivity as more people work at home during Coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Matheson said public projects will play a key role in bring about a "green recovery" in Scotland's beleaguered economy.

"This plans confirms an additional £2 billion of low carbon investment to be made over the course of the next Parliament," he told MSPs in a Holyrood statement today.

This is an increase on the draft plan set out last year. It includes £120 million to help the shift towards zero-emission buses, expected to then "lever in" £1 billion of private sector investment.

The SNP minister added: "These infrastructure investments are supported by £100 million in green jobs fund and our new green jobs workforce academy.

"The plans include nearly £1.6 billion to transform the way we heat our homes and buildings, as detailed in our forthcoming draft 'Heat in Buildings Strategy' which we estimate will support up to 24,000 jobs in Scotland."

It comes a day after the Government's Transport Projects Review was published setting out £550 million for active travel and over £500 million to decabonise rail in Scotland., which are included in today’s plan.

Other projects set out in the infrastructure plan today include £2.3 billion for healthcare, including the £204 million additional funding for The Baird Family Hospital and ANCHOR centre in Aberdeen and £67 million for the provision of a new health and social care community hub in Parkhead.

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There is £2 billion earmarked for education and learning facilities, including a new city centre primary school and a new Gaelic school in Glasgow, with up to £90 million towards the Dunfermline Learning Campus.

A further £600 million is set out to strengthen connectivity across Scotland, including completion of the delayed R100 broadband programme.

There is also £150 million of additional funding for flood risk management and £12 million for coastal change adaptation.

Mr Matheson added: “Since we published our draft Infrastructure Investment Plan in September, we have received broad support for our world-leading approach and have increased the total spend by £2 billion to further boost our economic and green recovery from the pandemic.

“Our overall focus is on driving inclusive economic growth, the transition to net zero, and building resilient and sustainable places. This package of significant investment will support economic confidence in every corner of Scotland and send out a clear message that we will continue to do all we can to secure our recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19). In the process we will also be supporting over 45,000 jobs and building a strong future for Scotland."

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