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Scottish draft budget includes £150m construction boost

Scottish draft budget includes £150m construction boost
Around £150 million of packages have been unveiled in Scotland's draft budget for 2013-2014 which should provide a boost to the construction sector.

The country's finance secretary John Swinney presented the ideas to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh and said that the idea was to support the industry and "inject growth into the economy".

It will be done through a £40 million investment in affordable housing, while £80 million has been pledged to the Schools for the Future programme. In addition, £30 million over three years will be put into a green investment scheme to help homeowners improve energy efficiency.

"In these difficult economic times this government is doing everything within its limited power to stimulate Scotland's economy, to invest in our young people, protect households and support front line services," Mr Swinney said.

Among the other plans that he unveiled in the draft budget was the creation of an Energy Skills Academy and a £6 million fund for cycling.

Elite athletes will benefit from £1 million of investment, while money will also go towards historic buildings, VisitScotland and hybrid buses.

Michael Levack, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation, said that the measures in the budget were recognition of the "tough times" which are currently facing the country's construction industry.

"Despite Mr Swinney’s efforts, Scotland still faces a cut in capital investment of around £5.5 billion or 24 per cent over the period 2009/10 to 2014/15. The UK government must do more to rectify this situation and demonstrate its own commitment to stimulating economic recovery," he added.

Mr Levack went on to say that the £30 million package to support energy efficiency is welcome, however it will only fund a small fraction of the total estimated cost of retrofitting Scottish properties.

He warned that there is a "worrying lack of urgency in the Scottish government's plans to reform construction procurement", as current practices are costly, time-consuming and inefficient.

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Date: 21/09/2012 11:40:44

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