Greater spending urgency

Covid ‘should force faster action on infrastructure’

Ian-Russell-and-Michael-Mathieson

Infrastructure plan: Ian Russell with Michael Matheson

Spending on Scotland’s infrastructure should be speeded up because of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, according to a government-commissioned inquiry.

The virus’s affect on employment and travel has placed a greater urgency on the need for investment decisions in skills development and planning the transport network, it says.

Investment in skills development will need to be quickened as some jobs disappear and others replace them.

With more people working from home it may mean that instead of building more roads, it may mean “repurposing” the existing network and making greater provision for cycling, walking and public transport.

The Infrastructure Commission for Scotland’s final report ‘Delivery Findings – A blueprint for Scotland’, published today, builds on its initial ‘Key Findings’ report in January.

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It says the importance of delivering an inclusive, net-zero carbon economy has been “amplified” by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To achieve a range of recommendations it says an independent specialist organisation should be set up outside the political decision-making system to enable it to operate in an arms-length and transparent way.

“This would allow the body to challenge Government while also undertaking tactical public engagement to inform the long-term strategy,” it says.

After careful consideration, the Commission has concluded that none of the outcomes of its recommendations would be enhanced by creation of a Scottish National Infrastructure Company.

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