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Scottish infrastructure set for major cash injection

Major civil engineering projects in preparation in Scotland are likely to proceed following Scottish Executive finance secretary John Swinney's spending review announcements last week.
Although the funding settlement for Scotland set by Westminster for this period is tighter, with increases averaging 1.4% a year, transport has fared fairly well.

The proposals include a 20% average increase over 2007/8 in capital spending on major roads projects between 2008–2011.

Total three-year investment of £2.65bn in railways is proposed. This includes the funds for the Edinburgh Tram project and those paid to Network Rail in response to the regulator's decisions.

Scotland looks set to continue as home nation leader on renewables with £100M allocated to energy and climate change, which will include grant support for developing renewable technologies.

Flood prevention and coastal protection schemes are affected by a decision by the administration to remove ring-fencing from several budgets delivered through local government. This forms part of an agreement with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities under which the 32 councils will receive £34.7bn over the three years, but will have to freeze their council tax rates and contribute to other SNP election pledges.

The parliament has to approve the budget each year and some changes are likely during the process as the minority administration seeks support from opponents.

Also published last week was the Scottish government's Economic Strategy which aspires to increase Scotland's economic growth rate to the UK average by 2011. It cites infrastructure, development and place as one of five strategic priorities.

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