Scotland is aiming to significantly increase its capital investment over the coming year in a bid to stimulate the nation's economy.
The Scottish government announced a number of budget proposals which are aimed at supporting economic growth as well as maintaining its commitment to deliver sustainable public finances. The move has been backed by the country's parliament and will the 2013/14 spending plans reach around £3.4 billion which will help provide a boost to the construction sector. Officials said that these extra funds with support jobs despite Westminster announced a cut of 26 per cent to Scotland's capital budget in recent weeks.
Ministers outlined the plans which will focus on creating additional funding for colleges, road maintenance, entrepreneurship and housing. This in turn is designed to get the construction industry back on its feet. These extra factors have been added to the plans which were outlined in September's draft budget.
As part of the announcement, the government noted that funding for colleges will be raised to £61 million while the housing budget will be improved by £38 million. Road maintenance will also receive a rise in the amount of funding it currently gets with an extra £10 million being made available for trunk roads.
John Swinney, finance secretary, said: "This government is using every available opportunity to boost economic growth. An additional £38 million for housing will take our investment in new affordable housing to £830 million, and will also see increased investment in housing energy efficiency to help to tackle fuel poverty and meet our carbon emission targets."
The move will come as welcome news for the construction sector which has been under increased strain of late following a series of downturns in activity. The recent Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index showed that the industry remained a 48.7 for January meaning that it was still in contraction and fell well short of the economists' forecast of 49.1. It means that the sector is still battling against a drop in the level of work companies are managing to bring in.
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