Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Thursday, 15 December 2011

Infrastructure and Investment Plan debate 1

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil told MSPs "we want to increase where we can the overall level of capital spending", during a debate on his government's Infrastructure Investment Plan 2011 on Thursday 15 December 2011.

Mr Neil told MSPs that, "It is not true to say that we will be reducing the overall capital investment levels of the Scottish government in terms of our own direct investment as well as the capital investment, our investment will leverage from the private sector and others for the next three year period."

The cabinet secretary said that since the Autumn Statement the capital grant from Westminster had now been cut by 32%, whereas before it was 38%.

He said that even with that 1/3 reduction in capital investment from the UK government, the transfer over the next three years by Finance Secretary John Swinney of £700m from the resource budget to the capital budget, will lead to a total capital investment of £2.5bn, an increase not a cut.

Earlier this month Mr Neil announced plans for up to £60 billion of spending up until 2030 for Scotland's roads, hospitals, schools and prisons.

In all, 80 projects have been set out which include:

• A high speed rail route proposal

• Dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025 and complete dualling of the A96

• The next generation of broadband will be delivered "to all" by 2020.

• Through to 2030, the Scottish government "will continue to invest" in property, medical equipment, IT and vehicles

• By 2016 students in Glasgow, Inverness and Kilmarnock will benefit from new colleges.

• Through to 2030, the Scottish government will deliver a step change in the provision of energy efficient homes through new-build programmes and the "retrofitting" of existing homes, including a commitment to deliver 30,000 homes over the life of this parliament.

Labour infrastructure spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: "Perhaps the truth is that these numbers have simply been made up, and the whole '£60 billion mega-plan' is simply a Mega Con, an exercise in mega-fantasy along the lines of 'think of a big number then double it.'

"We all agree that it is right to plan for the long-term as well as for each spending review period as it comes.

"But simply publishing a wish list of projects it would be nice to have, with no indication of priorities, no clear timetables or detailed plans for many projects and no credible funding statement, is not the way to do it".


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