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Thu May 19 2022

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Scottish university projects offered low-interest loans

15 May 19 The Scottish government has allocated £60m for low-interest loans that can be used towards upgrades to universities.

 Richard Lochhead (centre) made the announcement during a visit to see Balfour Beatty's progress on Strathclyde University's new building
Richard Lochhead (centre) made the announcement during a visit to see Balfour Beatty's progress on Strathclyde University's new building

Scottish universities are being invited to take advantage the funding for capital upgrades and projects. The money is aimed at ‘spend-to-save’ projects including energy efficiency, strategic development of university campuses and strategic collaboration between institutions.

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead made the announcement during a visit to the University of Strathclyde to see progress on Balfour Beatty’s progress on a new Learning & Teaching Building.

The new building, which is scheduled to open next year, will incorporate the university’s former Colville and Architecture Buildings at North Portland Street and Rottenrow. It will bring together new learning and teaching spaces, student support services and the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) in a purpose-designed facility. Balfour Beatty was appointed in 2018 to deliver the new £60m building through the university’s major building construction framework.

The university was awarded a £10m loan from the Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC’s) Financial Transactions programme to support the £60m development. Minister for further and higher education Richard Lochhead said: “The University of Strathclyde’s Learning and Teaching building is just one example of the many projects made possible with funding from the Financial Transactions programme. I am impressed that the project is already having a positive impact on students at the university, with engineering students receiving mentoring on-site.

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“The £60 million funding announced today for 2019-20 will facilitate further development of university campuses across Scotland and I look forward to seeing this take shape.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty’s regional managing director for Scotland and Ireland, said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government has provided funding through the Scottish Funding Council’s Transactions programme, which will enable us to refurbish and extend the University’s Grade II listed Architecture building and neighbouring Colville building.”

The £60m 2019-20 programme is an increase on the £40m in the previous round and the £20m 2017-18 round. It is estimated that the funded projects from the 2017-18 round, which are now nearing completion, will collectively save £2m and 8,945 tonnes of carbon per year.

SFC will administer the loan funding, and select successful proposals for funding based on their eligibility.  

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