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Sat June 15 2024

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Contractors applaud Scottish government

7 Dec 11 The construction industry has given a warm reception to the publication of the Scottish government’s Infrastructure and Investment Plan, which sets out a £60bn pipeline of work for the next 20 years.

SBF chief Michael Levack
SBF chief Michael Levack

The plan includes 54 major infrastructure projects and 33 programmes, across a range of areas, including schools, hospitals and housing. (See previous report here for details.)

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland) said that it “admired” the Scottish government and the Scottish Building Federation described the plan as "very positive".

CECA Scotland chief executive Alan Watt said: “The publication of this plan is welcomed by Scotland’s civil engineering contractors, at a time at which welcome news is at a premium.

“There is a huge amount of evidence that well-placed transport investment can trigger exceptional economic growth. We believe that the investment outlined in the plan may act as a catalyst, stimulating a new wave of prosperity across the nation.”

Mr Watt continued: “The Scottish government’s decision to increase the country’s sustainable economic growth rate by placing a high priority on infrastructure investment is an essential response to the current economic climate. The decision to improve Scotland’s tranport links will pay an important long-term dividend.

“CECA admires the way that the Scottish government has stuck to its manifesto pledges despite the economic backdrop and is determined to invest all it can in infrastructure. We are also aware that it developed a series of ‘shovel ready’ projects for swift investment if there is any underspend within its budget, and these will also provide further welcome opportunities for a contracting sector that is working with the Scottish government to maintain businesses and jobs.”

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The builders were almost as gushing as the civil engineers. Scottish Building Federation chief executive Michael Levack said: "We welcome the level of ambition behind the Scottish government's infrastructure and investment plan and the commitment to put capital investment at the heart of Scotland's economic recovery. An updated plan is something we've been calling for for some time, so the announcement is very positive.

"The real acid test will be how many of these projects can be brought forward in the short term so we can begin putting shovels in the ground. The industry urgently needs a pipeline of new work to start rebuilding the jobs, skills and capacity we have lost over the past three years."

The Institution of Civil Engineers in Scotland also welcomed the infrastructure investment framework. “We are delighted that the Scottish government has taken on board the case that ICE Scotland outlined in its State of the Nation report this summer for prioritisation of capital expenditure for infrastructure development, despite difficult economic circumstances,” said ICE Scotland regional director Jacki Bell.

“In particular we are pleased with the plan to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025, with a view to completing dualling of the A96 and the dualled road network between all our cities by 2030. This was a high priority outlined in our report. The idea of a pipeline of programmes and projects lays the foundations for a more structured approach to our infrastructure delivery.”

The full plan can be downloaded here

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