The SNP Government has announced a £230 million Return to Work package to help stimulate Scotland’s economy following the coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative covers construction, low carbon projects, digitisation and business support and will provide a flow of work for businesses and support jobs. It is funded by the reallocation of underspends from schemes interrupted by COVID-19.
New projects featured in the package include:
£51 million for business support, including boosting high growth companies;
£78 million for construction, including £40 million for regeneration projects and £20 million for roads maintenance;
£66 million to kick-start our green recovery, including £7 million to equip buses for physical distancing and the return to work;
£35.5 million for digitisation, including justice and education services.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP announced the package today as she opened a Scottish Parliament debate on the financial implications of COVID-19. She also sought Parliament’s support for the Scottish Government's call to be granted additional financial powers to manage the crisis.
Ms Forbes said:
“The impact of COVID-19 has been enormous on both businesses and individuals and the Scottish Government has so far spent more than £4 billion tackling its effects.
“This additional £230 million delivers investment across Scotland and will boost the green recovery, speed up digitisation and bolster construction, supporting hundreds of jobs.
“The Return to Work package is part of a process to harness Scotland’s talent and resources and build a modern economy that is robust, fair and sustainable. But it is only a start. Larger programmes will follow and I will continue pressing the UK Government both for new financial powers and greater certainty over funding.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“It is important that we continue to look ahead, even while we are still in lockdown.
“At a time where we are having to be more careful than every with public finances, reallocating funds from projects was the right thing to do and I am glad the SNP Government has taken immediate action..
“There is still a lot of work to be done and our working lives will be different for some considerable time to come, and this Return to Work package will play a vital part in our recovery.”