A £230 million Return to Work package has been unveiled to help stimulate Scotland’s economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 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.
“We are also taking steps to accelerate our economic recovery and this package ensures that we can make immediate use of money which, because of the pandemic, might otherwise not have been spent this year.
“I do not underestimate the challenges we face but I also see opportunities. It is important we take this chance to reshape our economy in a way that works for everyone and promotes long-term growth, not just quick fixes.
“This £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.
“These additional powers are now absolutely essential – without them Scotland will be planning for recovery with one hand tied behind our back.”