Infrastructure investment touches the lives of every person in Scotland – from the homes we live in and the water, energy and telecommunication we consume, to how we travel to the places we work, shop and learn.
As we tackle the economic, health and social harm arising from COVID-19, infrastructure will have a key role to play in securing a recovery that delivers new, good, green jobs. To address the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by the fast-approaching shock of the UK’s exit from the European Union, it is vital that we act now to invest in Scotland’s future.
We need the ability to respond quickly and comprehensively to boost the economy in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to think differently about wider changes to the ways in which we do business and conduct our lives, for example to boost new, high-quality digital services. We must also recognise the role that our infrastructure investment will have in the transition to a net zero emissions economy and ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change.
Earlier this year the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland made recommendations about the right future infrastructure priorities for an inclusive, net zero carbon economy in Scotland. In light of COVID-19 and Brexit, the Commission’s approach is even more needed than before. This plan accepts their recommendations. I show here how we will implement them in consultation with industry, delivery partners and the people of Scotland.
Our Infrastructure Investment Plan covers 2021‑22 to 2025‑26 and delivers our National Infrastructure Mission commitment to boost economic growth by increasing annual investment in infrastructure by 1% of 2017 Scottish GDP by 2025‑26. When the First Minister announced the National Infrastructure Mission in 2018, we were the first part of the UK to commit to overcome historically lower levels of UK investment, seeking to reach internationally competitive levels. Supported by a high-level review of the Scottish Government’s capital spending, this plan presents how we will deliver, and how our funding and finance is matched to our decisions.
There is now, more than ever, a need for the UK Government to agree increased fiscal flexibilities for the Scottish Government so that we can take advantage of historically low cost borrowing to invest for Scotland’s future. In the absence of that certainty, we are setting out our plans ahead of the UK spending review and confirmation of future budgets for Scotland, because we firmly believe action is required now to support our economy and public services.
The National Infrastructure Mission means over £33 billion of Scottish Government investment over the course of the next Parliamentary term. Our Capital Spending Review Framework, published alongside this draft Infrastructure Investment Plan, sets out at a high level the capital investment we intend to make, whether in infrastructure or other areas such as protecting and increasing jobs or through our capitalisation of the Scottish National Investment Bank.
This draft Infrastructure Investment Plan shows where the capital invested in infrastructure will go. It covers projects which Scottish Government or its Agencies and Non‑Departmental Public Bodies deliver directly, such as boosting our digital and transport connectivity, reducing the reliance of our homes on fossil fuels, boosting economic growth across our cities and regions, regeneration in our towns and neighbourhoods, or improving our services with better health and educational facilities.
I am delighted that this draft Infrastructure Investment Plan details around £24 billion of major projects and large programmes that are ready to be confirmed now, including those which are revenue funded. Looking ahead, we will show how future projects which have progressed beyond the planning stage and into delivery will join our pipeline.
We launched through this year’s Programme for Government our National Mission for Jobs. Infrastructure investment will be key to its success. This Plan offers the market confidence in a robust pipeline of work that will help stimulate our economic recovery. Over the next five years, around 45,000 jobs will be supported through our total capital investment. It is also good for green jobs and stimulating a low carbon recovery.
This draft Infrastructure Investment Plan sets out a clear vision for our future infrastructure – to support and enable an inclusive net zero emissions economy. Underpinning this vision are three themes: enabling net zero emissions and environmental sustainability; driving inclusive economic growth; and building resilient and sustainable places. These also complement the proposed Missions of the Scottish National Investment Bank.
Our vision can provide huge opportunities for Scotland’s people. We will drive innovation, ensure access to growing global markets, create good, sustainable jobs, enhance local areas and support a just and fair transition and wellbeing outcomes.
I’m also pleased to introduce a new Scottish Government‑wide infrastructure investment hierarchy, founded in the Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations.
Our decision‑making approach will support efforts to protect the environment by considering how to enhance and re‑purpose what we already have before creating new things. It will make our public services more sustainable and deliver better long term outcomes for those who use them. To back this up we aim to work towards doubling our investment in maintenance over the next 5 years.
We will continue to reduce emissions to play our part in the global fight against climate change. But we also need to protect households and businesses from the effects of climate change already underway. We will increase investment in flood risk mitigation and schemes to help us adapt to coastal change.
We want to build a Scotland that harnesses opportunities and is resilient to future challenges. I am consulting on this draft plan, to ensure the right final approach that benefits all of Scotland’s people.