Scottish Budget latest: Swinney unveils new pipeline

Health and schools big winners in £1bn additional pipeline; focus also on regeneration and digital improvements

Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney has set out which sectors will benefit from the additional £1bn for the non-profit distributing (NPD) model, as part of his Draft Budget for 2015-16.

The draft Budget committed to 10 new projects in the health sector – including Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Campus’s £120m cancer centre and maternity hospital projects, which have already been announced. Other schemes to benefit will be three further “major capital projects”, plus five community health facilities. Details of these are to be revealed before the end of the year.

In education, the Scottish government had already revealed a further £100m investment into Scotland's Schools for the Future programme. Specific schools to benefit from this initial component will be revealed this month, and the investment will be supported by a further £230m to be spent on further improvements to the schools estates.

In further education, £140m has been allocated for two college projects. And in the justice sector, work is underway with the Scottish Court Service to identify up to three new justice centres, at a cost of £60m.

Meanwhile, £70m has been set aside to focus on low carbon and digital projects. As reported earlier this week, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is already looking to identify opportunities for investment in these areas.

“As a new element of the NPD programme and reflecting the innovative nature of the work, these projects are at a less advanced stage and more detail on individual projects will again be provided as part of the Budget Bill process,” the document said.

Outside the NPD programme, the Scottish government will continue to push the tax increment financing (TIF) approach to regeneration schemes. As reported in the SFT’s business plan earlier this week, the trust is looking to develop TIF into a new Growth accelerator Model, which places greater emphasis on a range of factors, including job creation, as contingent for any infrastructure investment. 

The Draft Budget forecast public sector investment of around £350m in the six TIF pilot projects has the capability to generate an additional c. £1.8 billion of long-term private sector investment in Scotland.

Meanwhile, the SFT, which will oversee the NPD and TIF-style programmes alongside investment in housing initiatives and other schemes such as its asset management scheme, will be provided  with a budget of £4.7m for the 2015-16 financial year – the same as it received in 2014-15.