Policy actions  2 of 3

Infrastructure investment

Infrastructure in Scotland is funded by user charges, regulatory regimes, private sector, UK Government and local authorities as well as central Scottish Government funds.

Our current infrastructure investment programme includes record investment in improving road and rail infrastructure, which is creating jobs, helping businesses, and supporting sustainable economic growth across Scotland.

This page includes information on:

Infrastructure Investment Plan

Our latest Infrastructure Investment Plan was published in December 2015. Our progress in carrying out the plan is set out in the following updates:

Businesses can find information about public sector infrastructure projects at the following links:

Infrastructure Commission for Scotland

The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland was set up to provide independent, informed advice on the vision, ambition and priorities for infrastructure in Scotland.  The Commission will support delivery of our National Infrastructure Mission and development of the next Infrastructure Investment Plan. 

It will also advise on the key strategic and early foundation investments to significantly boost economic growth and support delivery of Scotland’s low carbon objectives and achievement of our climate change targets.  Further information on the Commission’s work and its membership, can be found at www.infrastructurecommission.scot

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity responded to the Commission’s initial call for evidence, highlighting the work we are doing to develop strategic plans and priorities for the future, alongside our trade priorities and place-making policies.

On 20 January 2020, the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland published its first report Phase 1 key findings: A blueprint for Scotland. The report sets out eight overarching themes and 23 specific recommendations for Scottish Government to consider. 

Later in 2020, we will publish the next Infrastructure Investment Plan – focusing on three core long-term outcomes of inclusive economic growth, tackling the global climate emergency, and building sustainable places. The Infrastructure Investment Plan will include our response to the recommendations of the Commission.

The Commission will report again in mid-2020 with further advice on the delivery of infrastructure, including the potential role of a Scottish National Infrastructure Company.

Infrastructure Investment Board

We established the Infrastructure Investment Board (IIB) in November 2010 to take an executive role in infrastructure governance, working alongside individual portfolio investment boards. IIB's objectives, as set out in the Infrastructure Investment Plan, are:

  1. delivering sustainable economic growth through increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality
  2. managing the transition to a more resource-efficient, lower-carbon economy
  3. supporting delivery of efficient and high-quality public services
  4. supporting employment and opportunity across Scotland

Scottish Futures Trust

We established the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) in 2008 to help ensure better value for taxpayers' money in the delivery of vital public infrastructure projects. It is a limited company owned by Scottish Ministers, whose activities are overseen by a board appointed by Scottish Ministers.

The SFT aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of infrastructure investment in Scotland by working collaboratively with public bodies and industry.

Contact the SFT at mailbox@scottishfuturestrust.org.uk

NPD and PFI projects

We provide funding or part-funding for a number of Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) and Public Private Partnership/Private Finance Initiative (PPP/PFI) projects in Scotland.

The following links provide details of the actual/estimated annual unitary payment charges paid/to be paid by public sector procuring bodies in Scotland to private sector consortiums for services agreed over the length of the contracts.

Tax incremental financing

Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) is a means of funding public sector investment in infrastructure which is judged to be necessary for regeneration but which may be otherwise unaffordable to local authorities. The goal of TIF is to support and guide the limited public finance available towards assisting regeneration and helping to leverage additional private sector capital.

How TIF works

TIF uses future additional revenue gains from taxes to finance the borrowing required to fund public infrastructure improvements, which will in turn create those revenue gains. For example, when a public project such as a new road system is constructed within a specific area, it may increase the value of the land and encourage new property and business investment. The increased site value and investment generates increased tax revenues, called the 'tax increment', which will pay off the money borrowed to construct the road.

TIF in Scotland

We support a maximum of six pilot projects to test the applicability of TIF to Scottish circumstances, in which extra tax revenues would come from non-domestic rates only.

Any proposal for a TIF project must demonstrate that:

  • the enabling infrastructure will unlock regeneration and sustainable economic growth
  • it will generate additional (or incremental) public sector revenues (net of a displacement effect)
  • it is capable of repaying, over an agreed timescale, the financing requirements of the enabling infrastructure from the incremental revenues

We have introduced secondary legislation, The Non-Domestic Rating Contributions (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010, under existing provisions in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to enable TIF pilots projects to take place.

We have produced an executive note providing guidance on the amended regulations.

We have tasked the Scottish Futures Trust with developing appropriate criteria for potentially applying TIF in Scotland, and with working with local authorities in developing their proposals.

We are encouraging local authorities to propose their own TIF schemes, with the requirement that these are supported by a business case detailing the justification for using TIF. A project will only be able to progress to pilot status if its supporting business case sufficiently demonstrates that it will deliver value for money.

Further guidance is provided in our tax incremental financing factsheet.


Infrastructure and Investment Division
Directorate for Budget and Sustainability
Scottish Government
3-C North
Victoria Quay