Transport tops agenda
Ross wants ‘Scottish Dynamo’ to boost economy
Douglas Ross: ‘more infrastructure spending’
UPDATED 31 AUGUST: Conservative leader Douglas Ross is calling for the creation of a “Scottish Dynamo” to turbocharge the economy and enable it to compete with the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.
Mr Ross says the idea would be key to a 30-year plan of investment across the nation, principally in the rail and road structure.
It forms a part of an ambitious jobs and economic recovery plan to be launched in Inverness.
The Power Up Scotland jobs plan, which Mr Ross promised to deliver within a month of his election as Scottish Conservative leader, includes the following policies:
* Sector-specific Job Security Councils to help laid-off workers transition and find skilled work, based on Sweden’s hugely successful retraining programmes.
* A Town Centre Rescue Plan to help small local shops adapt and free up planning restrictions.
* A ‘Scotland First’ procurement strategy to have the government spend more money locally
* A Scottish education guarantee to age 18 and expanded adult learning programmes.
* Community Right to Buy schemes for local pubs and other employers in fragile areas.
* Scottish Enterprise reformed on regional lines and new Rural Growth deals to spread high-quality jobs and business growth across the country.
* A yellow/red card system for businesses who make late payments and bid for public work.
* A new research and development target with better incentives for innovation.
* A Hardship Fund for businesses facing localised lockdowns.
Mr Ross also called on Sunday for accelerated infrastructure investment with proposals for a three-lane M8, a Scottish Smart Travel Card for contactless travel, faster rail links from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness, and a joint UK-Scottish Government infrastructure vehicle.
He said the SNP’s programme for government, to be announced on Tuesday, “must focus on how we recover from this crisis, protect jobs and rebuild Scotland’s economy from the brink.