Scottish infrastructure plans an uncosted “bribe” claim opposition parties

The Scottish government yesterday published an update to its own Infrastructure Investment Plan, described as an uncosted “bribe” by opposition parties.

Just over a week after Nick Clegg mourned the coalition’s woeful lack of spending on major infrastructure projects, the Scottish government yesterday published an update to its own Infrastructure Investment Plan, first unveiled in December 2011.

The proposals contain infrastructure projects, costing more than £20 million, that are planned and underway across Scotland up to 2030, bringing the Scottish government’s overall spending on capital investment to £3.1 billion for 2012/13, which it is estimated will create, ministers suggest, more than 40,000 jobs across the Scottish economy.

The figure is set to rise further in 2013/14 when a total of £3.4 billion of capital investment is planned.

Yesterday’s proposals point to several projects being completed and becoming operational in 2013/14, including the Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village, Lasswade and Eastwood High Schools, Dumbarton Academy, Auchmuty High School, and Glasgow School of Art estate development.

Ministers also expect “significant progress” being made on the non-profit distribution (NPD) scheme, which they argue is a fairer alternative to PPP/PFI tie-ups with the private sector in 2013/14, including projects such as the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary entering procurement and others such as Inverness College and City of Glasgow College moving into construction.

Declaring the plans announced to be ones which could play a significant role in stimulating growth “in the short term and lay the foundations for long term success”,  deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon argued they showed clearly how the Scottish government will do that “despite substantial and ill thought through cuts in our capital budget from Westminster of some 26 per cent”.

Arguing the only shovel-ready project in Scotland is a hole the first minister has dug himself into, Richard Baker, Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment responded by accusing ministers of being all talk but no action.

He continued:

“When this plan was first announced we said it was a wish-list. Since then projects have been further delayed and we now know that of £353 million which was meant to be invested in key projects this year, only £20 million is actually being spent.

“In fact, the only shovel-ready project which has been evident recently was the hole the first minister dug himself into on this issue at the last question time. Presumably the SNP are now seeking to cover up his embarrassment.

“If the SNP were really serious about developing the new approach to infrastructure we need they would back Labour’s plans for all the £330 million consequentials in the budget to be spent on housing. This would boost our economy and provide the affordable homes so many families are waiting for.

“The SNP’s failure on capital spending is shocking. No wonder only one in eight Scots trust Nicola Sturgeon. She needs to spend less time with her Borgen DVDs and more time delivering for Scotland.”

The Scottish Conservatives, meanwhile, have pointed to what they argue are a series of projects going over-budget:

• Whilst the Aberdeen bypass had previously been estimated to cost as little as £295 million, Scottish Conservatives have accused that the SNP is now putting the cost at more than £650 million;

• The A90 upgrade between Balmedie and Tipperty, formerly projected to cost between £53 million and £63 million, is now forecast to cost £92 million;

Improvements to the M873 and M874 are now estimated at £415 million, compared to £280 million last year, and the timescale for the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry project has slipped by a year to 2014;

• The Infrastructure Investment Plan appears to have cut Scottish government investment in fuel poverty and energy efficiency from £196 million to only £68 million.

Declaring the announcements amounted to a “bribe” ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, Scottish Conservative infrastructure spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP concluded:

“This might as well be called the lack of progress report. What we have is a list of schemes that are running over budget or behind schedule, then a new wish list with no detail on where the money will come from or how it will be delivered.

“The SNP might think the announcement of these projects will act as bribe for voters ahead of the separation referendum in 2014, but people see right through this sort of thing.”

Scottish Lib Dem Leader, Willie Rennie meanwhile called on the Minister’s to outline plans to accelerate spending on capital projects. He expanded:

“There is no explanation of the ways that the Scottish government is accelerating its spending on capital even though it got £394 million extra from the UK Government last autumn.

“In fact, the Scottish government has been silent on how it proposes to use the half that is available for 2014-15. Potential developers who need to know this basic information will be frustrated. It won’t help them plan.

“If the Scottish government got its act together it could work faster on projects such as speedier rail links to Inverness and Aberdeen and dualling of the A9.”

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18 Responses to “Scottish infrastructure plans an uncosted “bribe” claim opposition parties”

  1. LB

    Ignorign the debt payments, 80,000 quid to create 1 job for 1 year.

    Ho hum, on wards and up wards to bankruptcy.

  2. Thomas Coles

    Note that this article is in the context of Left Foot Forward’s pro-union stance.

  3. Newsbot9

    That’s right, you keep funding your jobs for the boys, but what does this have to do with the article? Keep trying to bankrupt us, offshore account holder.

  4. LB

    Cost of spending. Number of jobs created – all in the article. Oh, I get it, you don’t read the articles.

    Then the difficult bit. Some mathematics to work out how much is paid to create a job for a year.

  5. Newsbot9

    I read the article, you’re talking about zero-return jobs for your boys, not real jobs, as the article is.

  6. LB

    I suspect most of it will disappear into the pockets of those running the companies.

    Just like Holyrood house. What was the estimate and the bill?

    Even more reason for not spending on stupid non-cost effective schemes like these.

  7. Newsbot9

    You suspect? Check your bank account.

    And yes, you keep arguing against any scheme with a multiplier above a negative one! You can’t stand the thought of people being helped without your cut.

  8. blarg1987

    Well how much is going to be profit since you have done the maths and the people who benefit are private companies not the state.
    So the question to ask is are you chasing said companie to play their part by not charging a fortune to tax payers so we can use the money to pay back debt?

  9. LB


    Post a scheme with a positive number.

    Post one with a negative number.

    Lets have some details. One of each.

  10. Newsbot9



  11. Newsbot9

    Why would I chase companies? It’s a waste of time. The law is what needs to be changed, to ensure companies which operate here pay a proper amount of tax.

  12. LB

    Hs2 – agreed. Bonkers

    JSA – not a scheme, its insurance. So for most people they pay far more NI than they will ever get back in JSA.

    It’s a negative return.

    How do you justify it as value for money for a median wage earner? NI Paid, JSA back.

  13. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, special cases, when you’re wrong.
    You of course want to cancel JSA, so that’s no surprise.

    And that explains your rabid support for HS2 then.

  14. blarg1987

    Sorry comment was aimed at LB

  15. Newsbot9

    Ah, fair enough 🙂

    My sentiment stands though, I’d rather change the law…

  16. blarg1987


  17. LB

    So how much do people pay for JSA over a 40 year life time? How much NI for example.

    Now if the amount of NI exceeds the cost of JSA for 40 years, its not a particularly good insurance scheme. They would have been better off out.

  18. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, lying again. JSA is one of multiple things which NI pays for, but you use the full value for everything, of course.

    And of course you need to abolish JSA, so people flock to slave jobs…

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