Infrastructure investment is vital to deliver the Scottish Government’s long‑term ambitions for inclusive economic growth, responding to the climate emergency and building sustainable places. The value of investing in infrastructure goes beyond the physical homes, schools and hospitals delivered. It has the capacity to unlock economic potential, support jobs, and enable our businesses and communities to grow.
This annual progress report outlines our key achievements over the course of 2019-20. It covers activities set out in our last Infrastructure Investment Plan in 2015 and pre-dates Coronavirus and its impacts. Projects include the completion of major rail schemes such as the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, the first phase of the Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Improvement Project, the Shotts Electrification, major new health facilities in Orkney and Stirling as well as Forth Valley College’s new college campus in Falkirk and a new Justice Centre in Inverness.
In total over the course of 2019-20, infrastructure projects totalling more than £1.8 billion completed construction and opened to the public within our project pipeline.
Looking ahead, our project pipeline publication also shows that major infrastructure projects totalling almost £1.4 billion are estimated to be in construction across Scotland during 2020-21. Major projects are those worth over £20 million and form part of our annual capital grant investment of £5.2 billion in 2020-21. Additional support for infrastructure can be realised through Financial Transactions and revenue finance.
In addition to major projects, our planned capital investment programme for 2020-21 includes over £200 million of funding for City Region and Growth Deals, over £120 million for the expansion of places for Early Learning and Childcare, support to progress our elective care health centres and funding required to meet our commitment to deliver 50,000 affordable homes. It also includes increased budget provisions for innovative low carbon technologies, agricultural transformation, public transport, energy efficiency, active travel, and the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.
Plans throughout the year will be subject to significant adjustment in the light of Covid-19, although it is too early to be certain what the full impact will be. I will continue to work closely with all my Cabinet colleagues to ensure the right investment and support is available for all our changing infrastructure needs.
I am pleased that the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland published its first phase report, ‘A Blueprint for Scotland’ earlier this year and it will report again later this year with further advice on our National Infrastructure Mission and the delivery of infrastructure. The Commission’s advice will help to shape future investment in Scotland’s infrastructure, recognising the long-term objectives of this Government to deliver an inclusive and net zero emissions economy.
We will set out an approach that builds on the Commission’s findings in our next Infrastructure Investment Plan, which we will publish later this year. That Plan will need also to help us respond to the challenges of Covid-19 and prepare for the economic recovery that will be so important to us all.
We look forward to continuing to work with all our stakeholders to ensure that collectively we maximise the benefits of infrastructure investment for the people of Scotland.
Michael Matheson MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity