Digital strategy spending will increase to £130 million in 2016-2017 as part of a package of measures to bolster a culture of innovation and connectivity across Scotland’s homes, businesses and universities, especially in rural and island communities.
The SNP Government has also committed to £345 million of investment across Scotland’s universities, businesses and enterprise agencies - aligning their approach, pooling funding and simplifying access to support.
The 2016/17 budget will support economic growth by:
• Working with our partners - including enterprise agencies, the Scottish Funding Council and universities - to consider how best to use research and innovation budgets to drive increased collaboration and support the forward the development of new products, processes and services.
• Protecting the Small Business Bonus for around 100,000 small firms, supporting this investment with a review of business rates.
• Continuing to provide funding for our eight Innovation Centres, where universities, research institutes, businesses and others work in partnership to support the commercialisation of world-class research in big data, digital health, industrial biotechnology, sensor technology, construction, stratified medicine, aquaculture and oil and gas.
• Promoting the Scottish Business Pledge for companies that show public leadership through innovation, internationalisation and championing Fair Work by paying the real Living Wage
• Ensuring Scotland continues to be a world leader in social enterprise by investing £24.5 million in the Third Sector in 2016-17.
Commenting, Kenneth said:
“The SNP Government is keen to ensure that homes and businesses across Scotland are in a position to take advantage of comprehensive, high-quality digital infrastructure and, with funding for digital strategy rising to £130 million, we will ensure homes and businesses, especially in rural and island areas, benefit from all that digital has to offer.
“Innovation is a key driver of growth, competitiveness and productivity and therefore rightly sits at the heart of Scotland’s Economic Strategy. Scotland’s businesses and universities are key to driving innovation and we are determined to support their work in this area.”
“We believe our approach to innovation support requires a greater focus to achieve greater economic impact. The SNP Government will work with all its partners – including enterprise agencies, the Scottish Funding Council and universities – to further align our approach, pool funding and simplify access to support.”