Scotland could start work on building projects worth £800m if Westminster stopped cutting budget - Swinney

John Swinney wrote to Danny Alexander about the transfer of pensions
John Swinney wrote to Danny Alexander about the transfer of pensions
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JOHN Swinney today launched a fresh call for the UK Government to pump hundreds of millions of pounds into large scale building projects to revive Scotland’s flatlining economy.

• Swinney calls on Westminster to rethink cuts

• SNP finance secretary publishes list of potential building projects

• Capital investment ‘central to Scottish Government’s economic strategy’ - Swinney

The finance secretary published an updated list of “shovel ready” schemes worth £800 million which could be started immediately across Scotland if the UK Government reverses some of its cuts and starts spending money to get the construction industry working again.

Chancellor George Osborne will make his Autumn statement to Commons this week and the Scottish minister is calling for a rethink on the current cuts agenda.

The list of schemes could get underway before the end of 2013/14 and include the Clyde Gateway industrial development project, the upgrade of the A68 in the Lothians and a new health centre and maternity unit in Grampian.

Mr Swinney said: “Scotland’s budget for construction and maintenance projects is being cut by 33 per cent by the UK Coalition Government in a failed attempt to reduce public sector borrowing and while we are investing what we can in economic recovery in Scotland there is much more to do.

“Too many households are still struggling and too many people find themselves out of work. I have asked the Chancellor to significantly increase Scotland’s level of capital investment in his Autumn Statement to boost our future prosperity.

“This would provide much needed work to Scottish construction sector and boost local economies all over Scotland.”

The Scottish Government has made repeated calls for UK Ministers to boost spending on construction projects, insisting this has been a key strategy help revive growth in the US.

A range of other projects in road-building, affordable housing, courts, enterprise and college maintenance have been set out by the finance secretary.

“If these projects could get under way now, rather than being delayed, they would play a major part in helping to tackle unemployment,” Mr Swinney added.

“Capital investment is central to the Scottish Government’s economic strategy, with every additional £100 million of capital spending estimated to support around 1,400 jobs in the Scottish economy.”