RICS Scotland calls for infrastructure projects to be given budget boost
An increase in funding for Scotland’s budget announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond can help tackle Scotland’s infrastructure deficit and boost the country’s competitiveness in the global market, according to RICS Scotland.
Delivering his Spring Budget to the House of Commons yesterday, the Chancellor committed an extra £350 million of funding to the Scottish Budget as a result of Barnett consequentials – with the resource budget increasing by £260m in the period to 2020 and the capital budget increasing by £90m to 2021.
Gail Hunter, RICS director in Scotland, said: “The £350m funding boost as a result of Barnett consequentials is welcome, and gives the Scottish Government the means to bring forward vital infrastructure projects and make inroads into its target of 50,000 affordable homes by the end of this parliament.
“RICS has been a vocal supporter of expanding City Region Deals across Scotland, and we welcome the announcement that the Edinburgh city deal is progressing, as well as UK government support for a Stirling City Deal and a Tay Cities Deal, which will affect Perth and Dundee.
“The Scottish Government could direct the additional funding toward key infrastructure projects within these deals, which could return the highest economic and social impact. Furthermore, boosting Scotland’s rural and remote connectivity in terms of transport, broadband and energy can also stimulate the construction sector.
“Tackling Scotland’s infrastructure deficit will boost Scotland’s competitiveness in the global market and attract both foreign and inward investment at time when the UK’s looming Brexit and a potential second independence referendum are causing increased levels of uncertainty for investors.
“The announcement of additional support for the North Sea oil and gas industry will be welcome news to north-east Scotland; an economic area that has been devastated with the recent downturn in energy commodity prices and the forthcoming business rates revaluation.”
Douglas McLeod, regional managing director for Barratt Developments in Scotland, added: “We applaud the measures announced today to support the UK’s economy, particularly on skills. With 350,000 workers having left construction since the financial crisis, there is a real need to bring in more young people into the industry with new skills, so the announcements today are important.
“Equally important is the need to maintain high quality standards in the drive to build more homes. As a five star rated builder this is something we recognise and are focussed upon.”