A report published today by Scape Group, a public-sector procurement specialist, found that:
‘Scotland saw 54 per cent more infrastructure output per person than London, last year. It also revealed that Scotland came out top in cumulative infrastructure output per person between 1997 and 2017.’
The graph above shows that this has increased notably in the latter years of the SNP administration.
What exactly is infrastructure output and why does it matter?
Well, see this from the US government in March this year:
‘An ambitious infrastructure investment program is estimated to raise welfare, increase GDP, and improve labour market opportunities and outcomes particularly for less educated workers. While the particular structure and details of the infrastructure program ultimately adopted will affect its subsequent future impacts, CEA believes the program’s overall value will be considerable.’
The full Scape report also clarifies the importance of investing in infrastructure:
‘In the last 20 years, Scotland has seen a significant increase in infrastructure output, rising from £1.09 billion in 1997 to £2.74 billion in 2017. There is a wealth of opportunity in Scotland as the Scottish Government and local authorities recognise the importance of delivering infrastructure to unlock economic growth.’ Upfront investment in infrastructure and major regeneration plans are unlocking cities and towns, attracting new businesses and enabling places to grow and flourish. Transport infrastructure is key in Scotland, as it is elsewhere in the UK. Scotland has also recognised the importance of training the next generation of skilled construction workers with recent figures revealing that the number of Scottish construction apprentices has grown for the seventh consecutive year.’
So, it’s logical. If you spend on roads, rail, digital links, housing, hospitals and the many other elements of infrastructure, you get wider unplanned benefits as businesses and workers exploit the links to benefit the economy and society.
The Scottish Government is spending much more on infrastructure
See this from December 2017:
‘Public spending on economic growth is set to rise to more than double the level by the UK Government, according to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Reflecting the Scottish Government’s determination to seize opportunity and grow Scotland’s economy, the growth package will see spending on the economy increase by 64% – an increase of £270 million – in 2018-19. Even before the Draft Budget was presented, the Scottish Government was investing more in economic development than the rest of the UK. Spending on economic development last year was equivalent to £193 per head in Scotland, compared to £88 per head in the UK as a whole.’