The Scottish Government will be given early access to capital borrowing powers to help fund projects such as the new Forth crossing, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced.
The powers were expected to be in place by 2013 as part of the UK Government’s Scotland Bill, but will now be available this year.
The Liberal Democrat MP said: “We are already committed to providing the Scottish Government with significant new borrowing powers and tax-raising powers for the long-term benefit of Scottish families.
“We are always looking to do more for the benefit of Scotland and that is why I can confirm today that we will also be coming forward with new plans that will allow the Scottish Government to have access to money this year.
“This is earlier than was envisaged so that money can be invested in capital projects like the construction of a new Forth bridge.
“That is good for the economy. It is good for jobs. It is good for Scotland and it is yet another demonstration of our commitment in the coalition Government to an increasingly strong, dynamic, prosperous Scotland within a strong United Kingdom.”
Mr Clegg made the announcement in South Queensferry during his first visit to Scotland since the Holyrood election in May.
Capital borrowing powers outlined in the Scotland Bill amount to £2.2bn. Revenue borrowing powers in the Bill total £500M.
This announcement did not cover calls from the Scottish Parliament to increase the borrowing limit among proposed changes to the legislation.