Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled £100million of capital spending to help stimulate the Scottish economy in the wake of the UK’s vote for Brexit.
The First Minister announced today that funding for projects to create jobs would be accelerated in a bid to boost the economy.
An initial £100million will be made available this financial year and used to speed up the delivery of health and other infrastructure projects.
Business leaders largely welcomed the news, but Scottish Labour described it as a “drop in the ocean”.
Jackie Baillie, her party’s economy spokeswoman, claimed the SNP “could be much bolder” in regenerating growth in Scotland.
She pointed to Labour’s Brexit Action Plan, which includes the establishment of a support fund for at-risk sectors, adding: “The SNP Government should adopt this Labour policy to give support to key industries.”
And she warned any post-Brexit stimulus from the SNP and Tory governments had to include an end to austerity.
MSP Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens’ external affairs spokesman, described the SNP measures as a “welcome and timely boost”.
But he urged Ms Sturgeon to direct some of the capital to shore up Scotland’s renewables sector.
Under the SNP’s plan, projects will be assessed for accelerated funding against a range of criteria, including how quickly the work can start, the number of jobs created, as well as the likely impact on the supply chain and the geographic spread.
The Scottish Government is also poise to establish a new service to provide information and support to businesses affected by the EU referendum result.
A new post-referendum business network will additionally work closely with the main business bodies, the Scotland Office and the Scottish Trades Union Congress.
Ms Sturgeon announced the proposals at the Golden Jubilee hospital in Clydebank, which will receive an extra £5million to bring forward expansion of its elective centre from 2018/19 to this year.
She said: “The UK Government has not yet taken any meaningful action to alleviate uncertainty or to boost confidence, and there are very real concerns that the damage to the economy and to jobs will be severe and long-lasting.
“It is against this background that the Scottish Government is announcing early action to boost confidence, stimulate economic activity and support business.”
She also called on the UK Government to give early certainty about EU Structural Funds and urgently announce its own stimulus package.